For most B.C. wild salmon, life begins and ends in fresh water. The sockeye salmon featured in UNINTERRUPTED spend the first few years of their lives in freshwater streams and watersheds before heading out for the open ocean. After 2-7 years at sea, adult sockeye begin the arduous migration back home, swimming hundreds of kilometres upstream to spawn in their freshwater hatching grounds.
B.C. rivers are among the world’s most vital for preserving wild salmon stocks. Billions of eggs are laid every year in B.C.’s primary salmon rivers and watersheds – legendary waterways such as the Fraser, Skeena, Nass, Somass, Thompson, Upper Peace and Adams River. There are also major sockeye spawning runs in the Stikine, Taku and Alsek watersheds, and the Smith and Rivers inlets. UNINTERRUPTED was filmed in three of these BC waterways: the Adams, Pitt and Sproat Rivers.Continue Reading
The annual migration is beautiful to witness, but life is not without risk for salmon at all stages. Young sockeye face predators in their own species and make a tasty meal for snakes, osprey and eagles. As the sockeye return to their spawning waters, danger looms again in the form of bears and hungry birds, plus natural and human-made obstacles including river rapids, currents and dams – and fishing. In the Adams River, where much of UNINTERRUPTED was filmed, it’s estimated that only a few in every 2-4,000 eggs will survive and return to spawn as an adult salmon.
Throughout their journey, the salmon nourish the Pacific ecosystem as they have done for millennia – but human intervention has threatened this annual cycle. Warming temperatures, disrupted riparian (shoreline) zones, water shortages, and contamination pose a major risk to migrating salmon. Even big cities like Vancouver used to offer a safe haven for salmon, but urban sprawl has eaten up this important habitat.
Lost watersheds matter, because for wild salmon, there really is no place like home. Groups of salmon that hatch in a stream and return there to spawn (a process known as “homing”) possess a unique genetic code that evolved over thousands of years to match that particular waterway. When human actions or a natural disaster wipe out an entire stock, it may take another thousand years for salmon to return bearing the genetic makeup they need to thrive in that stream.
In every B.C. watershed, there are people and programs working to gather important data about wild salmon, and to preserve and protect essential habitat throughout the river system. To celebrate the fact that B.C. is one of the few places in the world that still has significant wild salmon runs, fall festivals are held in communities across the province; and every four years at the Adams River, the Salute to the Sockeye witnesses one of the largest remaining migrations in North America. Read here in the coming weeks to learn how you can join in.
Salmon in the Stave River are getting a leg up from the Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition and partner organizations, as together they put the ingredients for life back into this vital river habitat.Read Story
Ecologists reveal the mystery of the salmon-bear relationship
A groundbreaking study finds bears eat salmon-rich diets near Alberta border.Read Story
We gratefully acknowledge that UNINTERRUPTED was filmed on the unceded traditional territories of the:
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish)
Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, Secwepemc Nation
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