Do sockeye salmon take detours?
Did you know that the Fraser River sockeye have two migration routes for their journey ‘home’ to spawn? Typically, on an average year, the majority of sockeye migrate to the mouth of the Fraser River via the Juan de Fuca Strait to the south of Vancouver Island. Fewer make the journey via Johnstone Strait, which is to the north and east of the Island.
However, in warmer years, this migration pattern reverses; the majority of the sockeye run – in some – migrates via Johnstone Strait.
During El Niño years, like this one, we can predict that the sockeye run will be ‘detouring’ to the north. Moreover, with climate change and warming ocean waters, we can also predict that this change might become a more regular occurrence.
(El Nino affects other species of Pacific Salmon too. Here’s a good article on some of the changes associated with El Niño and with climate change for Chinook and Chum salmon.)
Featured image by Roger Tabor (USFWS)