Thursday June 6, 2024


New research has connected warming ocean temperatures to higher Pacific salmon abundance in the Canadian Arctic, an indicator that climate change is creating new corridors for the fish to expand their range.

Salmon haven’t historically been seen in large numbers in the Arctic Ocean and its watersheds, but in recent years incidental catches by subsistence fishermen have occasionally surged. Researchers at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working together with communities in the western Canadian Arctic, have connected those salmon booms with a sequence of warm, ice-free conditions in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska.

The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, determined that a two-part mechanism was tied to the presence of salmon in the Canadian Arctic. Warm late-spring conditions in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska, drew salmon into the Arctic. When those warm conditions persisted in the summertime Beaufort Sea, northeast of Alaska, the salmon could continue to Canada.

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