Upper Left Photo: Steelhead Trout; NOAA Photo
Upper Right and Bottom Photos: Coho Salmon; NOAA Photos

Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) use several of the coastal streams within the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and Point Reyes National Seashore throughout their lifecycle, including Olema, Redwood, and Pine Gulch Creeks. Because coho are an endangered species, the National Park Service is responsible for monitoring and protecting these populations. They have undertaken a huge effort to learn more about the size, distribution, and behavior of these populations, understand their habitat requirements, and engage federal, state, and local stakeholders in their protection.

The Inventory and Monitoring Program has been tracking coho since 1997, and much of this monitoring also includes the threatened steelhead trout (O. mykiss).You can learn more about the results of this program from the seasonal updates, resource briefs, and reports links on the upper right hand side of this page. The multimedia section also has a short video that includes field interviews with park biologists.

If coho salmon are endangered, why do I see them for sale in the seafood section of the grocery store?

Coho in the grocery store are probably from Alaska or the Pacific Northwest. Salmon are very geographically loyal, returning as adults to the same stream they were born. So coho caught farther north are not from the same population of fish that live in our streams here.

Alaskan coho salmon are thriving, in part because the fishery is well managed and monitored, but also because their freshwater habitats are in a much more pristine condition, having escaped the damming, pollution, and development that have degraded Bay Area watersheds over the years.

With all the different kinds of salmon out there (coho, steelhead, king, sockeye, and pink to name a few) and also varying harvest methods it can be difficult to know what to avoid and what to eat. For more information about sustainable seafood choices see http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.