The Salmon Connection: the fish story of Vivian Nguyen

Here is the wonderful fish story of Vivian Nguyen and about her love of the Pacific sockeye salmon...

The Salmon Connection

"January of 2009 was when I embarked on a project to study sockeye salmon –  an incredibly beautiful and determined species that migrate as juveniles from their natal grounds to the ocean to feed, and return to those same grounds to reproduce and then die. Their deaths don’t go unnoticed. The deteriorating flesh of these fish contribute to the giant lush forests found along the west coast of Canada. These migratory fish are what connects connect the ocean to the land.

The strength and the cultural importance of Pacific salmon was the reason why I continue to be involved with fish migration. Coming from the landlocked province of Ontario, I had no idea how iconic this species was, and how important a successful migration is to their life cycle and to the entire ecosystem. It was when I spent two summers interacting with the communities of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia that I understood the important role of this migratory fish.  

Our research group from Carleton University and the University of British Columbia have been tracking salmon using telemetry for almost two decades to understand their migratory patterns, behaviour, and the consequences of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on these keystone species. My research was to understand the human dimension of this work. I learned how salmon connect entire communities, which have inspired me to continue work on ensuring that we protect them.

Two years ago we had our first successful World Fish Migration Day Event in Ottawa. We created interactive activities to educate the public on the importance of migratory fish as well as the importance of their migrations to our ecosystems. The appreciation and curiosity of the Ottawa community keeps us coming back for more! We hope with every event we can spread awareness on how migratory fish connect us all."


This year Vivian and her team from WFMD Ottawa Chapter (Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory) and, American Fisheries Society will also be celebrating WFMD. Follow this link for more!