Carrie Holt

Image Holt, Carrie
Research Scientist

My role includes developing and evaluating assessment methods and management strategies for Pacific salmon.

Current research and/or projects

The goal of my research program is to develop tools to facilitate communication and decision-making at the interface between fisheries science and management in three broad areas. My program is leading the development and evaluation of biological reference points for Pacific salmon, including for data-limited stocks.  In addition, my work focuses on the integration of oceanographic information into models of salmon population dynamics to improve science advice to management. I am further interested in the development of assessment and decision-making tools to inform the assessment of species at risk under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, COSEWIC, and management of depleted stocks under Canada’s Fisheries Act.

Research and/or project statements


- Development and evaluation of limit reference points (LRPs) for Pacific salmon

- Detecting and accounting for changes in Pacific salmon population productivity and carrying capacity over time

- Incorporating environmental conditions into forecasts of Pacific salmon using Empirical Dynamic Models

- Development and application of a simulation-evaluation tool, samSim, to evaluate rebuilding plans for Pacific salmon

- Development of assessment methods for data-limited populations of Pacific salmon

- Advice on assessments and projections for Species at Risk and COSEWIC, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada 

- Development of metrics and benchmarks to determine the genetic influence of hatcheries on wild salmon


Education and awards

M.Sc. (Freshwater biology), York University, 2001

Ph.D. (Resource and Environmental Management), Simon Fraser University, 2007

Key publications

  1. Atlas, W. I., D. T. Selbie, C. A. Holt, S. Cox-Rogers, C. Carr-Harris, K. J. Pitman and J. W. Moore. 2020. Landscape and biophysical controls of lake productivity to inform evaluation of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations in data-limited regions. Limnology and Oceanography 65(9): 2205-2219.
  2. Peacock, S. J., E. Hertz, C. A. Holt, B. Connors, C. Freshwater and K. Connors. 2020. Evaluating the consequences of common assumptions in run reconstructions on Pacific salmon biological status assessments. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 77(12): 1904-1920.
  3. Freshwater, C., Holt, K., Huang, A.-M. and Holt, C.A. 2020. Benefits and limitations of increasing the stock-selectivity of Pacific salmon fisheries. Fish. Res. 226: 105509
  4. Holt, C.A. and Michielsens, C.G.J. 2020. Impacts of time-varying productivity on estimated stock-recruitment parameters and biological reference points. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.
  5. Freshwater, C., Anderson, S.C., Holt, K.R., Huang, A.-M., Holt, C.A. 2019 Weakened portfolio effects constrain management effectiveness for population aggregates. Ecological Applications.
  6. Debertin, A.J., Irvine, J.R., Holt, C.A., Oka, G., and Trudel, Marc. 2017. Marine growth patterns of southern British Columbia chum salmon explained by interactions between density-dependent competition and changing climate. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 74:1077-1087.
  7. Ruff, C. P., J. H. Anderson, I. M. Kemp, N. W. Kendall, P. A. McHugh, A. Velez-Espino, C. M. Greene, M. Trudel, C. A. Holt, K. E. Ryding, and K. Rawson. 2017. Salish Sea Chinook salmon exhibit weaker coherence in early marine survival trends than coastal populations. Fisheries Oceanography.
  8. Holt, C.A., Folkes, M.J.P. 2015. Cautions on using percentile-based benchmarks of status for data-limited populations of Pacific salmon under persistent trends in productivity and uncertain outcomes from harvest management. Fisheries Research 171: 188-200.
  9. Haigh, R., Ianson, D., Holt, C.A., Neate, H.E., Edwards, A.M. 2015. Effects of Ocean Acidification on Temperate Coastal Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries in the Northeast Pacific. PLoS ONE 10: e0117533.
  10. Griffiths, J.R., Schindler, D.E., Armstrong, J.B., Scheuerell, M.D., Whited, D.C., Clark, R.A., Hilborn, R., Holt, C.A., Lindley, S.T., Stanford, J.A., Volk, E.C. 2014. Performance of salmon fishery portfolios across western North America. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1554-1563.
  11. Holt, C.A. and Irvine, J.R. 2013. Distinguishing benchmarks of biological status from management reference points: A case study on Pacific salmon in Canada. Environmental Conservation. Available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S0376892913000209.
  12. Araujo, H.A., Holt, C.A., Curtis, J.M.R., Perry, R.I., Irvine, J.R., and Michielsens, C.G.J., 2013. Building an ecosystem model using mismatched and fragmented data: a probabilistic network of early marine survival for coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, in the Strait of Georgia. Progress in Oceanography 115:41-52.
  13. Peacock, S.J., Holt, C.A.. 2012.Metrics and sampling designs for detecting trends in the distribution of spawning Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 69:681-694
  14. Holt, C.A., and Bradford, M.J.. 2011. Evaluating benchmarks of population status for Pacific salmon. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 31: 363-378
  15. Holt, C.A. 2010. Will depleted populations of Pacific salmon recover under persistent reductions in survival and catastrophic mortality events?. ICES Journal of Marine Science , 67:2018-2026
  16. Holt, C.A., Mantua, N.M.. 2009.Defining spring transition: regional indices for the California Current System. Marine Ecology Progress Series , 393: 285-299
  17. Holt, C.A., de la Mare, W.K.. Feedback control systems in Pacific salmon fisheries. Fish & Fisheries , 31: 525-536
  18. Holt, C.A., Punt, A.E.. 2009. Incorporating climate information into rebuilding plans for overfished groundfish species of the U.S. west coast. Fisheries Research , 100: 57-67
  19. Holt, C.A., Rutherford, R.B., and Peterman, R.M.. 2008. International cooperation among nation-states of the North Pacific Ocean on the problem of competition among salmon for a common pool of prey resources. Marine Policy, 32: 607-617
  20. Holt, C.A., Peterman, R.M.. 2008.Uncertainties in population dynamics and outcomes of regulations in sockeye salmon fisheries: implications for management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences , 65:1459-1474
  21. Holt, C.A., Peterman, R.M.. 2006.Missing the target: uncertainties in achieving management goals in fisheries on Fraser River, British Columbia, sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 63: 2722-2733
  22. Holt, C.A., Peterman, R.M.. 2004.Long-term trends in age-specific recruitment of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in a changing environment . Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences , 61: 2455-2470

Research facility

3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7