Species Profile

Chinook Salmon Okanagan population

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia, Pacific Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2017
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This is the only Columbia River Basin Chinook population in Canada. It is geographically discrete and genetically distinct from other Canadian Chinook populations. This population was once large enough to support an important food and trade fishery prior to settlement by non-native people. Construction of multiple dams along the Columbia River migration route combined with historical overfishing in the Columbia River and the ocean reduced population size. Poor marine survival, deterioration in the quality of Canadian spawning habitat, and non-native predators and competitors have also contributed to the current depleted state of the population. Rescue is theoretically possible from straying of Chinook from the US, but the status of the source population is uncertain as is the viability of these strays. Rescue is therefore considered unlikely. Although there has been a slight increase in the population, the number of mature individuals in the population remains very low, varying between 19 – 112 individuals in the last 4 years.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in an emergency assessment on 4 May 2005. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in April 2006. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 2017.
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd):

No schedule - No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

10 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and status report on the Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Okanagan population in Canada (2018-01-17)

    Chinook Salmon (Salmonidae: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Walbaum) is one of seven species of the genus Oncorhynchus native to North America. This report assesses the status of the Chinook Salmon population within the Okanagan Watershed in British Columbia. The Okanagan Chinook population is part of a larger population complex that includes other summer and fall migrating ocean-type populations that spawn in the tributaries of the upper Columbia River in the U.S. The Okanagan Chinook population is the only remaining Columbia River Basin Chinook population in Canada. The Columbia River Basin group of populations is not only geographically separated from other Canadian Chinook populations, but is also genetically distinct from all other Chinook populations, reflecting deep phylogenetic divergence and local adaptation.
  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Okanagan population) in Canada (2006-08-30)

    The chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Walbaum) is one of six species of the Pacific salmon (genus Oncorhynchus) native to North America. This report assesses the status of the chinook salmon population within the Okanagan River basin in British Columbia as a COSEWIC Designatable Unit (DU).

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Chinook Salmon, Okanagan population (2018-01-18)

    This is the only Columbia River Basin Chinook population in Canada. It is geographically discrete and genetically distinct from other Canadian Chinook populations. This population was once large enough to support an important food and trade fishery prior to settlement by non-native people. Construction of multiple dams along the Columbia River migration route combined with historical overfishing in the Columbia River and the ocean reduced population size. Poor marine survival, deterioration in the quality of Canadian spawning habitat, and non-native predators and competitors have also contributed to the current depleted state of the population. Rescue is theoretically possible from straying of Chinook from the US, but the status of the source population is uncertain as is the viability of these strays. Rescue is therefore considered unlikely. Although there has been a slight increase in the population, the number of mature individuals in the population remains very low, varying between 19 – 112 individuals in the last 4 years.
  • Response Statements - Chinook Salmon (2006-11-29)

    The Chinook salmon (Okanagan population) are the only remaining Columbia Basin population of Chinook salmon in Canada, and are geographically, reproductively and genetically distinct from all other Canadian Chinook salmon populations. They consist of anadromous salmon that migrate to and from the Pacific Ocean through the Columbia River, and also individuals that remain in Osoyoos Lake. The Chinook salmon (Okanagan population) was once large enough to support an important food and trade fishery prior to settlement by non-native people. The population used to occupy the area from Osoyoos Lake to Okanagan Lake, but McIntyre Dam has limited access to only the area below the dam and in Osoyoos Lake. As well as this habitat loss, the population was depleted by historic overfishing in the Columbia River and juvenile and adult mortality due to dams downstream on the Columbia River. Fisheries exploitation in the ocean, deterioration in the quality of the remaining Canadian habitat, and new predators and competitors such as non-native fishes also contributed to the current depleted state of the population. Genetic data show evidence of successful reproduction and maturation by individuals in this population, but also that this small population has genetic diversity similar to much larger populations in adjacent areas of the Columbia River basin, and is closely related to those populations. The genetic data, as well as the presence of fish of hatchery origin in the Canadian portion of the Okanagan River indicate that it is very likely that fish from elsewhere in the upper Columbia River basin have contributed reproductively to the population. With spawning numbers as low as 50 adults, the population is at risk of extinction from habitat loss, exploitation and stochastic factors, but may also be subject to rescue from populations in adjacent areas of the Columbia River basin.

Orders

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Consultation Documents

  • Legal Listing Consultation Workbook- Speckled Dace, Okanagan Chinook and Northern Fur Seal (2007-01-16)

    Your opinion is being sought to assist the government of Canada in making an informed decision on whether to add the Speckled Dace, Chinook Salmon (Okanagan population) and Northern Fur Seal to the Schedule 1 (the List of Wildlife Species at Risk) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Your input on the impacts of adding these species to the List is important. This workbook has been developed to give you an opportunity to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with your feedback, advice, and other comments regarding adding these species to Schedule 1 of SARA (Schedule 1 identifies which species are legally protected under SARA).
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