Fishes of the Salish Sea: a compilation and distribution analysis

A 2015 NOAA report creates an updated and comprehensive list of the fishes of the Salish Sea. 

Fishes of the Salish Sea report cover
Fishes of the Salish Sea report cover


As part of a current effort to restore the Salish Sea, a 16,925-km2 inland waterway shared by Washington State and British Columbia, a definitive, up-to-date list of the fishes that inhabit this marine ecosystem has been badly needed. The last such effort was published more than three decades ago. In response to this deficiency, we compiled information from various sources and identified 253 fish species observed in marine or brackish waters of the Salish Sea ecosystem, an increase of nearly 14% since the last published checklist. These 253 species, encompassing 1 myxinid, 2 petromyzontids, 18 chondrichthyans, 2 chondrosteans, and 230 teleosts, are contained within 78 families and 31 orders. This comprehensive list of the Salish Sea ichthyofauna will serve as a foundation for determining the occurrence of new species and perhaps the disappearance of others, enabling the selection of species as indicators of ecosystem health, and will provide a basis for identifying the mechanisms responsible for marine animal declines.


Pietsch, Theodore W., and James W. Orr. (2015). Fishes of the Salish Sea: a compilation and distributional analysis. NOAA Professional Paper NMFS 18, 106 p. doi:10.7755/PP.18
About the Author: 
Theodore W. Pietsch (1) and James W. Orr (2): (1) School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture University of Washington 1122 NE Boat Street Seattle, Washington 98105-5020; (2) Alaska Fisheries Science Center National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA 7600 Sand Point Way NE Seattle, Washington 98115.