British Columbia·Photos

'Pacific salmon' named B.C.'s official fish

A group of seven fish native to B.C. waters — sockeye, chinook, coho, pink and chum salmon, and steelhead and cutthroat trout — have been designated B.C.'s official fish.

Group of seven fish joins coat of arms, flag, flower, tree and bird among official symbols

B.C. has decided that "Pacific salmon," an umbrella group of seven salmon and trout subspecies, will be its official provincial fish emblem.

The announcement, which came Saturday, adds a ninth entry to B.C.'s collection of representative symbols.

'There is no symbol more iconic of British Columbia.'—Environment Minister Terry Lake

In a written statement, Environment Minister Terry Lake said making Pacific salmon B.C.'s fish emblem recognizes the importance that British Columbians place on the fish's ecological, cultural and economic significance.

"Not only are Pacific salmon integral to the culture, well-being and livelihood of B.C.'s First Nations, they are often seen as indicators of overall ecosystem and wildlife health, and important to environmental sustainability. Pacific salmon are also a significant economic driver in B.C. due to commercial and recreational fisheries," Lake said.

"With the epic migration of Pacific salmon from B.C.'s rivers and streams to the ocean and back, there is no symbol more iconic of British Columbia," Lake said.

B.C.'s government has designated Pacific salmon as B.C.'s official fish. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

The B.C. government specified that the designation of "Pacific salmon" refers to seven salmonid species of the genus Oncorhynchus, all of which are native to B.C. waters. 

Subspecies included in the province's designation of Pacific salmon are sockeye, chinook, coho, pink and chum salmon, and steelhead and cutthroat trout.

B.C's Provincial Symbols and Honours Act already lists emblems for B.C's official tree (western red cedar), flower (Pacific dogwood), gemstone (jade), mammal (spirit bear), bird (Steller's jay), tartan, flag and coat of arms.

In 2011, conservation groups lobbied the provincial government to consider designating the Pacific salmon as B.C.'s official fish. Advocates said most of the public already associates the province with the fish, so taking the next step shouldn't make a splash.


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