Wild Salmon Center
|Region served||Northern Pacific Rim|
The Wild Salmon Center (WSC) is an international conservation organization that works to protect wild salmon, steelhead, char, trout and the ecosystems on which these species depend. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United States, the WSC works with communities, businesses, governments, and other non-profits to protect and preserve healthy salmon ecosystems in the North Pacific. WSC programs range in location from Russia, Japan, Alaska, Washington State, and Oregon.
The WSC was founded as a non-profit by Pete Soverel and Tom Pero in 1992, and was run entirely by volunteers during its first five years. Originally the WSC received funding for research and conservation through organizing angling trips to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. These expeditions were a joint venture between the WSC and Moscow State University. In 1998, WSC hired Guido Rahr as Executive Director, formerly with the conservation organization Oregon Trout, where he developed an approach to salmon conservation that focused on proactive protection of the strongest remaining populations (stronghold strategy). The organization expanded rapidly between 1999 and 2010, as the budget of the Wild Salmon Center increased from $631,000 to $8 million respectively. A new organization called The Conservation Angler was created in 2003 to take over the ecotourism programs, allowing the WSC to focus solely on science and conservation. One of the WSC programs, State of the Salmon, a science-based program created in 2003 in collaboration with Ecotrust, uses data to track the health and trends of wild salmon populations. This data is then analyzed, and used to inform salmon management and conservation throughout the Pacific Rim.
Adopted in 1999, the WSC has been focused on a proactive "salmon stronghold" conservation strategy as a regional and international approach to salmon conservation. Salmon strongholds refer to river ecosystems that contain the most abundant and biologically diverse populations of wild salmon. Kamchatka, home to the 550,000 acre Kol River Salmon Refuge created in 2006, has been an area of focus for the WSC, as it is considered one of the healthiest salmon strongholds in the world. Other regions considered salmon strongholds are areas of Bristol Bay, Alaska, Kamchatka and select parts of the Russian Far East. In identifying and then protecting salmon strongholds, the WSC aims to conserve healthy salmon stocks before they decline and ensure sustainable fish populations survive for the long term.
With programs in Russia, Japan, Alaska, Washington State and Oregon, the WSC has helped protect over 800,000 acres of salmon habitat, worked with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to win certification of seven commercial salmon fisheries worldwide, and published books, scientific articles, and assessments of the status of different salmon species. The WSC has established eight new independent salmon and watershed conservation organizations, and directed over $25 million in grants to support conservation and science projects across the Northern Pacific Rim.
- Salmon Strongholds. http://www.wildsalmoncenter.org/programs/index.php/
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- State of the Salmon. accessed on: 05/15/2011
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- Oceanography. "Salmon Strongholds" September 2010 Vol. 23/3 P.14
- Programs. Wild Salmon Center: accessed on: 05/16/2011