Sockeye salmon hit another record low in Lake Washington

Lake Washington’s sockeye salmon count has hit a record low yet again at the end of 2020. After the sockeye’s decline in 2019, the trend was expected to continue its decline but this is worse than imagined.

In the sockeye salmon migration to Cedar River in 2020, only 3,000 fish have returned out of the initial 22,950 originally counted at Ballard Locks Fish Ladder. It is expected for at least half of the 3,000 surviving fish to die before reproduction.

Climate change, predators, and urbanization serve as reasons for this major and continuous decline of Seattle’s sockeye population. With these fish on the brink of extinction, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) is working to protect, conserve, and recover Washington’s salmon.

Interested in helping these efforts to save the sockeye? Check out WDFW’s Habitat recovery and protection or follow some of these tips from the Seattle Aquarium.

  1. Get involved and use your voice: volunteer, vote, and create awareness of salmon recovery
  2. Pick up yours (or others!) trash: runoff from waste can go to salmon habitats
  3. Get your oil checked: oil leaks in a car cause oil runoff into water
  4. Conserve water: using less, gives Seattle’s fish more
  5. Gardening and your yard: use minimal amounts of fertilizers/pesticides, or better yet, use compost!
  6. Check your home: make sure hazardous materials are properly used, stored, or disposed

Photo: Seattle Public Utilities