BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)

Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

There is new-found hope for the dwindling population of southern resident killer whales which reside part-time off B.C.’s coast, and it comes in the form of a 45-acre salmon ranch.

Dubbed BIG SALMON Ranch, the Center of Whale Research purchased the farm in October 2020, but only announced it Wednesday (Dec. 2).

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon to spawn.

The goal is to take full advantage of the salmon abundance as it flows from Olympic National Park into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where the southern resident orcas often feed.

Ken Balcolmn, Center of Whale Research founder and senior scientist, says that approximately 7,400 chinook recently returned to the Elwha, creating roughly 900 nests, called “redds” each of which contained 5,000 fertilized eggs.

“Optimally, over four million baby chinook smolts will be produced by the Elwha,” he said. “By 2024, this could result in 80,000 to 250,000 returning adult chinook salmon for the whales and ocean fishers to catch.”

Latest statistics estimate that there are 74 southern resident killer whales left in the world. The species lives along B.C.’s coast and travels as far south as California through the year.

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Southern Resident Killer Whales

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ladysmith's Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 29 responded to the fire. (Gerry Beltgens photo)
Boat catches fire in Ladysmith Harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Pamela Anderson was given a Ladysmith Heritage Award for the restoration work on the Arcady Auto Court property that she purchased from her grandparents. (Pamela Anderson photo)
PHOTOS: Star-studded Ladysmith Heritage Awards honour local commitments to heritage

Barrie McDonald, Pamela Anderson, John & Luke Marston, and the Ladysmith Maritime Society recognized

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read