State of the Physical, Biological and Selected Fishery Resources of Pacific Canadian Marine Ecosystems in 2016

Peter C. Chandler, Stephanie A. King and Jennifer Boldt (Editors)

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for the management and protection of marine resources on the Pacific coast of Canada. Oceanographically this area is a transition zone between coastal upwelling (California Current) and downwelling (Alaskan Coastal Current) regions. There is strong seasonality and considerable freshwater influence, and an added variability from coupling with events and conditions in the tropical and North Pacific Ocean. The region supports ecologically and economically important resident and migratory populations of invertebrates, groundfish, pelagic fishes, marine mammals and seabirds.

Since 1999 an annual State of the Pacific Ocean meeting has been held by DFO scientists in the Pacific region to present the results of the most recent year’s monitoring in the context of previous observations and expected future conditions. The workshop to review conditions in 2016 was held March 22 and 23, 2017 at the Mary Winspear Centre near the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C. This technical report includes submissions based on the ten-minute presentations given at the meeting.

Ocean temperatures along the B.C. coast were above the 1981-2010 average, but this warm water anomaly did not set records as in 2015. As the year progressed the temperature anomaly decreased and the upwelling of cool nutrient rich waters along the west coast of Vancouver Island marked a return to conditions more favourable for productivity and fish growth. The returns of most B.C. Sockeye salmon stocks in 2016 were higher than expected and higher than the long term averages. The returns of Fraser sockeye in 2016, expected to be low, set an historic low record.

A special session focused on ecosystem reporting processes. Several experts from a variety of government and non-government groups in both Canada and the U.S. provided overviews of the processes they use for ecosystem reporting.

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