Salmon are Crucial for the Ecosystem and People of BC’s Inner Central Coast
Amongst the large fjords, coastal watersheds, vast forests and towering mountains, salmon are foundational for terrestrial and aquatic environs alike. Iconic species such as killer whales, grizzly bears, wolves, bald eagles and steelhead rely on large sums of marine-derived nutrients that salmon deliver with their miraculous migration.
Salmon have sustained Nuxalk and Heiltsuk peoples in this place for thousands of years. Indigenous culture has evolved hand in hand with the ecosystem that salmon nourish. Today, the communities of Bella Coola Valley, Ocean Falls, Bella Bella and Denny Island are home to approximately 3300 residents. The economy here is based on natural resource use and is heavily reliant on salmon and the wealth of ecological diversity that wild salmon enable. An indigenous fishery, commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism businesses, accommodations, local residents and visitors all benefit from salmon.
Ensuring the existence of diverse and abundant wild salmon and steelhead populations in BC’s inner central coast well into the future will support the regional economy and secure important biodiversity within the greater population of Pacific salmon.
We consider BC’s inner central coast as the marine areas inside of Fitz Hugh Sound and the watersheds that drain into those areas. The Bella Coola, Dean and Kimsquit watersheds are the most significant of the region. Many smaller watersheds also play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of salmon. The map below illustrates BC’s inner central coast and outlines our initial geographic focus.