International Year of the Salmon

Sleuths to share salmon secrets at B.C. Seafood Expo

Gulf of Alaska salmon expedition results to be discussed at this year’s B.C Seafood Expo

By Fabian Dawson

Earlier this year, 21 scientists from 5 countries spent over a month travelling 8,000 kilometres in the Pacific Northwest to find out what they don’t know about salmon.

They returned to Vancouver on March 18 with a boat load of information that will for the first time provide a comprehensive understanding of the abundance, condition, country of origin and location of stocks from salmon producing countries.

The scientists from Canada, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S. —surveyed 60 different locations in the Gulf of Alaska while aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovsky and estimated there are about 55 million salmon in the area, which is a feeding ground where the majority of Pacific salmon migrate to in the winter.

In addition to private donations, Ottawa kicked in $250,000, the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) contributed $200,000, The Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Pacific Salmon Commission came up with $250,000 and Victoria provided $75,000 for the $1.3 million study.

The expedition is one of the signature projects of the International Year of the Salmon, an initiative to establish new hemispheric-scale partnerships to address challenges facing salmon.

“What we need to know most about Pacific salmon, we mostly don’t know” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist emeritus Dr. Dick Beamish, the architect of the Gulf of Alaska expedition project.

The study results, which will be shared at this year’s B.C Seafood Expo have put scientists on the right path to make the discoveries and be effective stewards of the oceans, said Dr. Beamish.

The B.C. Seafood Expo 2019, which will be held in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island on June 12 and 13. is one of the largest seafood industry trade shows in the Pacific Northwest and part of the 2019 BC Seafood Festival which runs from June 7 to 16.

Among the speakers at the expo, who will share the results expedition and on-going efforts by The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) at a plenary session entitled Sustaining Salmon in a Rapidly Changing World, are;

Mark Saunders, Director, North Pacific Region @ International Year of the Salmon – Mark Saunders works for the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in Vancouver as the Director for the north Pacific Region of the International Year of the Salmon initiative.  He retired several years ago from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans where he headed up a Salmon research at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, B.C.  Mark and his wife Gail live in the small town of Chemainus on Vancouver Island.  He has two grown daughters in their 20’s.  In his spare time, Mark enjoys sailing, kayaking, cycling, skiing, sport fishing and picking mushrooms with his springy Bernadoodle named Willow;

International Year of the Salmon

Ned Bell, Executive Chef @ Ocean Wise – Ned Bell is a chef advocate, keynote speaker, educator and founder of Chefs for Oceans. Bell’s interests and talents have led him to his current roles as Ocean Wise Executive Chef, Culinary Director of The Vancouver Club, Chef Ambassador for International Year of the Salmon and author of best seller – Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast. Bell’s ability to excite, inspire and educate individuals and industry wanting to make a broader commitment to sustainable seafood has made him a much sought-after chef, speaker and change-maker.  As Executive Chef for Vancouver-based, global program, Ocean Wise, Bell makes an impact through education, advocacy and culinary experiences with his peers across North America. Ned founded Chefs for Oceans in 2014 to raise awareness and advocate for responsible seafood choices and the importance of supporting healthy oceans, lakes and rivers.

International Year of the Salmon

Richard Beamish – Emeritus Scientist at the Pacific Biological Station – Richard J. Beamish has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto. He has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg and at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia where he served as director from 1980 to 1993. He has served as a commissioner and board member with number of research organizations such as the boards and his many international awards include sharing the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 as a member of the International Panel on Climate Change. He received the Order of Canada in 1999 and the Order of British Columbia in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Vancouver Island University. He retired officially in 2011, though he maintains an office and remains unofficially on the job; and

International Year of the Salmon

Tawney Lem, Executive Director @ West Coast Aquatic – As the Executive Director of West Coast Aquatic, Tawney Lem is responsible for oversight of the non-profit organization and for leading implementation of the Coastal Strategy – an integrated ocean management plan, which is only the second of its kind in Canada. Within this role, Lem is committed to increasing collaboration in natural resource management through governance and ecosystem-based approaches. Lem has a strong background in complex, multi-party facilitation, board development, policy development and strategic planning, with a focus on finding shared solutions within and between governments and sectors. These skills are collectively being applied to one of WCA’s focal projects; facilitating local salmon harvest and stewardship Roundtables across the west coast of Vancouver Island, and supporting the growth of this co-management practice across BC.

About BC Seafood Expo Trade Show 2019

The BC Seafood Expo Trade Show 2019 will provide businesses the opportunity to meet face-to-face and showcase their products & services to seafood buyers, exporters, distributors and other providers from throughout BC and the pacific northwest.

For more information and how to register go to


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