Here’s where you can go to find out where the salmon are hiding in Metro Vancouver

An international biologist, photographer and storyteller is coming to New West this weekend to share the results of a three-year effort to determine where the salmon are hiding in Metro Vancouver.

While wild, Pacific salmon are often in the news these days, one of the reasons Fernando Lessa undertook the Urban Salmon Project was to document the wide range of salmonids that are living in Metro Vancouver..

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“My overall goal was to create awareness for the salmon,” he said in a press release. “I’m passionate about the freshwater environment, and when I realized that most people were not aware of how close salmon are to us, I decided I had to do something.”

As part of the project, Lessa visited more than 25 creeks and rivers in West and North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Langley. Five species of salmonids – Chinook, Sockeye, Pink, Coho and Chum – were found in our local waters.

“As usual, I started this project with online research – finding the story of the places, historical and updated information, those kinds of things,” he said. “Then before actually coming to the water, I visited the locations and checked out hazards, access points, etc. to be sure I will be able to get what I want. Once I was happy, I came back with my diving gear and camera. I was very lucky to have support and help by many streamkeeper groups.”

Lessa documented all of these salmon species and other amazing underwater life in more than 200 photographs, many of which are included in a coffee table book he’s produced to commemorate the project. Copies of the will be for sale at his presentations and online at

“The book was an important way to get the story registered and maybe reach some people that are not used to getting information online,” he said. “As well, I think that the pleasure of flicking through a book will never be matched by the internet, so I wanted people to have the same enjoyment I had exploring the Metro Vancouver waters.”

Lessa is now sharing the results of the Urban Salmon Project with communities and groups around Metro Vancouver.

Lessa will be speaking about his project on Saturday, April 6 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, 788 Quayside Dr. Attendance to the event is included with admission to the centre.

“We are very excited to have Fernando join us,” said Stephen Bruyneel, Fraser River Discovery Centre’s director of external relations and development. “Wild Pacific salmon are an integral part of the Fraser River, and I can’t wait to see what Fernando has been up to over the past three years.”

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