Today, 28 salmon species* face extinction on the West Coast and are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Other populations that are not listed have experienced drastic reductions in their populations. Salmon are foundational to the region’s ecology, and Chinook salmon, in particular, are important prey for endangered Southern Resident killer whales.
NOAA Fisheries works with federal, state, local, tribal, and nongovernmental partners to conserve and recover Pacific salmon. Recovering abundant native salmon populations is important for the ecosystem and will benefit coastal communities through renewed commercial and recreational fishing opportunities and associated jobs. Salmon are also of profound cultural importance to West Coast Native American tribes. Recovering these species is therefore critical to meeting federal obligations as stewards of tribal treaty and trust resources and to supporting tribal treaty fishing and subsistence fishing traditions.