Fish Populations in Puget Sound
Puget Sound is home to 59 listed populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, many of which continue to decline. Puget Sound Chinook salmon show very few signs of recovery. Almost all of these Chinook populations do not meet recovery goals for abundance of natural-origin (wild) spawners. Furthermore, productivity remains low for most populations.
While the Puget Sound Chinook salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit as a whole is not doing well, there are notable differences among the 22 populations. A recent analysis by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (Kendall, N.) noted that only the Suiattle, upper Sauk, and upper Skagit populations met the high productivity recovery goal for abundance. The average annual change in Chinook salmon abundance across all 22 populations was 1.05 percent between 1999 and 2019. Although the change is a positive trend, it is very small. There are some positive changes for the Elwha population but their significance needs more data.