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A Look Back: History of Salmon Fishing and Canneries In the Skeena River, British Columbia

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The Skeena River’s salmon fishery and canneries have a long history. Beginning in 1877 with the Inverness Cannery, the lower Skeena River on British Columbia’s North Coast was lined with over 26 canneries. The Skeena Slough, or one arm of the Skeena River’s delta before it falls into the Pacific Ocean, was home to Inverness.

Because of the numerous canneries that lined its beaches, this slough is also known as “Cannery Row.” The North Pacific Cannery and the Cassiar Cannery both contain significant ruins, with the North Pacific Cannery being designated as a national historic site. Apart from these two reasonably easy-to-access canneries, many of the others are only accessible by water and are in various stages of ruin and remains. The hidden treasures that remain and the stories they tell are truly amazing.

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So, what distinguishes a salmon from other fish? The term “salmon” refers to a group of ray-finned fish belonging to the Salmonidae family. (The Salmonidae family also includes trout, char, grayling, and whitefish) Pacific salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater streams, migrate to the ocean for the majority of their lives, and then reproduce in the same freshwater stream where they were born (spawn). Pacific salmon are also semelparous, meaning they die after reproduction and become food for other organisms in coastal environments in British Columbia.

Whatever sort of salmon you intend to catch, be sure you are familiar with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ freshwater and saltwater fishing rules (DFO).

Skeena River Media is a full-service production company based in Northwestern British Columbia

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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