salmon in the

Urban hangouts for salmon in the city

Urban Salmon Project was a three-year effort to document where B.C.’s iconic species hang out in the Metro Vancouver area.

By SeaWestNews

Drawn by a passion for salmon, international biologist, photographer and storyteller Fernando Lessa has documented where B.C.’s iconic species hang out in the Metro Vancouver area.

 “Our precious wild, Pacific salmon are constantly in the news these days…but few understand that we actually have a wide range of salmonids right under our noses here in Metro Vancouver, said Lessa, who recently completed his Urban Salmon Project.

“My overall goal was to create awareness for the salmon,” said Lessa (pictured).

“I’m passionate about the freshwater environment, and when I realised that most people were not aware of how close salmon are to us, I decided I had to do something.”

 As part of the Project, Lessa visited more than 25 creeks and rivers in West and North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Langley. All five species of salmonids – Chinook, Sockeye, Pink, Coho and Chum – were found in our local waters. 

 “As usual, I started this project with online research – finding the story of the places, historical and updated information, those kinds of things,” added Lessa.

“Then before actually coming to the water, I visited the locations and checked out hazards, access points, etc.  to be sure I will be able to get what I want. Once I was happy, I came back with my diving gear and camera. I was very lucky to have support and help by many stream keeper groups.”

 As part of the project, Lessa also documented all of these salmon species – along with other amazing underwater life – with over 200 photographs. Many of these pictures are included in a coffee table book he has produced to commemorate the project.

 “The book was an important way to get the story registered and maybe reach some people that are not used to getting information online,” concluded Lessa.

“As well, I think that the pleasure of flicking through a book will never be matched by the internet, so I wanted people to have the same enjoyment I had exploring the Metro Vancouver waters!”

Lessa is now out sharing the results with communities and groups around Metro Vancouver. He also has copies of the commemorative book for sale at his presentations and online at


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