Pacific salmon and steelhead have a dynamic life cycle that includes time in fresh and saltwater habitats. These fish are born in freshwater streams and rivers, migrate to coastal estuaries, then enter the ocean where they mature. They usually return as adults to the same streams where they were born to spawn and begin the cycle again.
NOAA Fisheries manages and protects several species of fish in the Salmonidae family in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Some are threatened or endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act. Others are targeted by commercial and recreational fisheries and are managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to maintain healthy, sustainable population levels.
Pacific salmon and steelhead include the following species:
Learn about our work to manage and protect salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest:
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
Salmon fisheries provide for commercial, sport, subsistence, and tribal harvest in ocean and inland waters of Alaska. Steelhead are harvested in sport and subsistence fisheries.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council manages salmon fisheries of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to maintain healthy, sustainable population levels. The Council developed the Fishery Management Plan for Alaskan Salmon Fisheries (Salmon FMP) in the EEZ off Alaska under the MSA.
The Salmon FMP allows a commercial troll fishery in the EEZ off Southeast Alaska, and closes the remaining EEZ off Central and Western Alaska to commercial salmon fishing. All other salmon fishing occurs in State of Alaska managed waters (inside 3 nautical miles) or in one of three historical state-managed net fishing areas that extend into the EEZ. The Salmon FMP does not cover the fisheries in these three state-managed fishing areas:
- Cook Inlet
- Prince William Sound
- Alaska Peninsula
The Salmon FMP delegates management of the commercial troll fishery in Southeast Alaska to the State of Alaska and, under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Commission. The Southeast Alaska troll fishery is a mixed-stock, mixed-species fishery that primarily targets chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho salmon (O. kisutch), with pink salmon (O. gorbuscha), chum salmon (O. keta), and sockeye salmon (O. nerka) taken incidentally.
NOAA Fisheries' West Coast Region has jurisdiction over the salmon species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Steelhead are managed by the State of Alaska. They are harvested in state sport and subsistence fisheries.
West Coast Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries works in cooperation with federal, state, tribal, and Canadian officials to manage salmon and steelhead fisheries in ocean and inland waters of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. These fisheries are managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to maintain healthy, sustainable population levels.
Ocean Salmon Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries works with the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Pacific Salmon Commission to manage harvest of salmon in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council's Salmon Fishery Management Plan guides the management of these salmon fisheries based on the terms of the MSA. The plan covers Chinook and coho salmon, and sometimes pink salmon near the Canadian border. Sockeye, chum, and steelhead are rarely caught in ocean fisheries.
Salmon and Steelhead in Coastal Bays and Tributaries
Some fisheries are not managed under the MSA by NOAA Fisheries or the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Washington and Oregon
Salmon fisheries in coastal bays and tributaries in Washington and Oregon are managed by the states and tribes.
In conjunction with states and tribes, specific area management has also been established:
- Puget Sound Salmon and Steelhead Fisheries
- Columbia River Basin Salmon and Steelhead Fisheries
- Snake River Basin Salmon and Steelhead Fisheries
Salmon and steelhead fisheries in tributaries of California are managed by the state.
NOAA Fisheries has listed 28 population groups of salmon and steelhead on the West Coast as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Primary listing and recovery responsibilities for salmon and steelhead belong to NOAA Fisheries. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other federal and state agencies, and tribal governments also play important roles in recovery.
What We Do
Our West Coast Region works with partners to protect, conserve, and recover salmon and steelhead by addressing the threats these animals face and by restoring the habitat on which they depend.
Recovery Planning and Implementation
The ESA requires us to develop and implement recovery plans for salmon and steelhead listed under the ESA. Recovery plans identify actions needed to restore threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead to the point that they are again viable and a functional element of their ecosystems and no longer need protection. Although recovery plans are guidance, not regulatory documents, the ESA envisions recovery plans as the central organizing tool for guiding and coordinating recovery efforts across a wide spectrum of federal, state, tribal, local, and private entities. Recovery planning is an opportunity to find common ground among diverse interests, obtain needed protection and restoration for salmonids and their habitat, and secure the economic and cultural benefits of healthy watersheds and rivers. Recovery planning is a collaborative effort that draws on the collective knowledge, expertise, and actions of communities and partnerships.
Through habitat restoration, we work to undo the damages done to coastal wetlands and salmon-bearing streams. Nearly half of historic tidal wetlands have disappeared from Oregon's coastal estuaries; while in Puget Sound more than 80 percent of tidal wetlands have been lost and vast areas of floodplain wetlands have been cut off from rivers by levees or filled for development. In California, nearly 90 percent of the wetlands have been lost from habitat destruction mainly spurred by a booming population and economic development. We work with our partners to reconnect these marshes and floodplains to tidal or riparian waters and to restore habitat. We restore spawning and rearing habitats for fish, including salmon and steelhead, and improve fish passage by removing dams or replacing undersized culverts.
Habitat alterations, hydroelectric development, and consumptive fisheries have impacted most of the salmon and steelhead populations in the Pacific Northwest. Hatcheries, or artificial propagation, are one tool to help support wild populations and provide fish for harvest.
Upstream and Downstream Passage
Dams change the way rivers function, and may interfere with the life cycles of salmon, steelhead, and other animals. They are barriers to juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean, and obstacles as adult fish return to their natal streams to spawn. Dams also affect the way water moves down a river, by changing the amount and timing of flow, as well as its temperature and chemical characteristics.
For salmon to thrive, it is important to provide safe, swift passage for juveniles traveling to the ocean and for adults migrating back to their spawning grounds. There are many types of passage infrastructure in use at and around dams, depending on factors such as a dam's age, size, location, and purpose. Sometimes passage facilities are added many years after a dam is built.
Because of habitat destruction and hydropower dams on migratory rivers, many salmon and steelhead species no longer occupy their historical habitats. Reintroducing a species into its historical range is often critical to its recovery.
The ESA provides an important tool to facilitate the reintroduction of threatened and endangered species such as salmon. Section 10(j) of the ESA provides NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service authority to designate populations of listed species as "experimental." This designation allows us to reestablish self-sustaining populations in regions that are outside the species' current range when doing so fosters its conservation and recovery.
Protected Salmon & Steelhead
Nine evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of Chinook salmon are protected under the ESA:
- Upper Willamette River Chinook Salmon
- Snake River Spring/Summer-run Chinook Salmon
- Snake River Fall-run Chinook Salmon
- Puget Sound Chinook Salmon
- Lower Columbia River Chinook Salmon
- Sacramento River Winter-run Chinook Salmon
- Central Valley Spring-run Chinook Salmon
- California Coastal Chinook Salmon
- Upper Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon
Two ESUs of chum salmon are protected under the ESA:
Four ESUs of coho salmon are protected under the ESA:
- Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho Salmon
- Oregon Coast Coho Salmon
- Lower Columbia River Coho Salmon
- Central California Coast Coho Salmon
Two ESUs of sockeye salmon are protected under the ESA:
Eleven distinct population segments of steelhead are protected under the ESA:
- Lower Columbia River Steelhead
- California Central Valley Steelhead
- Middle Columbia River Steelhead
- Upper Willamette River Steelhead
- Central California Coast Steelhead
- Northern California Coast Steelhead
- Puget Sound Steelhead
- Upper Columbia River Steelhead
- Snake River Basin Steelhead
- South-Central California Coast Steelhead
- Southern California Coast Steelhead
Our Alaska Fisheries Science Center works to understand ecological processes that drive the productivity of anadromous fish populations (those that migrate up rivers from the sea in order to breed) in freshwater, estuarine, transitional, and marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Our scientists focus on marine ecology research, forecasting salmon recruitment, and evaluating the impacts of commercial fisheries on salmon populations.
Scientists at our Northwest Fisheries Science Center contribute to species recovery through research, monitoring, and analysis. These scientists provide NOAA Fisheries managers and regional stakeholders with the tools and information they need to craft effective regulations and develop sustainable plans for recovery.
Our Southwest Fisheries Science Center conducts biological and economic research of salmonid fish in California that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Research supporting their restoration and recovery includes distribution and abundance, metapopulation dynamics and viability analysis, population genetics, life history tactics and strategies, spatial ecology, wild/hatchery interactions, and ocean and estuarine ecology.
Summary of pacific salmon and steelhead restoration accomplishments, 2000–2022.
NWFSC’s Salmon Recovery Science Strategy provides a roadmap for effective, practicable salmon…
Five-year reviews describe whether recovery is on track in the context of the recovery plan,…
Data & Maps
The In-Season Salmon Reporting Service is a RESTful web service that reports expanded weights and…
The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) database serves as a project and performance…
Outreach & Education
Proteja el salmón y los cursos de agua. Deposite los medicamentos no utilizados en instalaciones de…
Independientemente del tamaño de su espacio verde, puede incorporar prácticas de jardinería…
Este mural está diseñado para ser un proyecto de desarrollo comunitario.