Migrating Salmon In The Pacific Northwest

3424 Words14 Pages
Salmon are an important resource in the Pacific Northwest. They have provided food and shaped the region for many years. Indigenous people have been fishing for them for hundreds of years, and the fish maintain a certain importance for these maritime cultures. Despite the fishing, the salmon maintained a steady population until the fishing industry increased in the area in the 1900’s. This industry currently provides many jobs and has become important economically to the area. The salmon industry as well as other human influences are causing problems for the fish. Their complex life cycle and habitat needs are being adversely affected, and their numbers are decreasing. They are becoming less of a sustainable resource. The effects of industry…show more content…
The many rivers provide power to the surrounding areas. Another major obstacle to the migrating salmon is the presence of these dams on the rivers. These dams provide about 75% of the Pacific Northwest’s electricity at a low cost (Safina, 1997). Many industries, including the aluminum industry, use this cheap form of electricity to generate profit. But the salmon cannot pass the dams without fish passages. Though this is the only way the fish can travel past the dams, any water that does not go through the hydroelectric generator is seen as lost revenue for the electric company as well as surrounding industries. Overall, the dams hinder both migrations downstream for young fish, and upstream for adult fish. The young fish experience a mortality rate of 15-20% per dam and may pass multiple dams in their trip to the ocean (Safina, 1997). They can get held up behind the dams which keeps them from reaching the ocean as soon as they should. The adult fish also have trouble despite the installed fish…show more content…
This has required fisheries to develop management plans in order to prevent overfishing. Certain other nations that have signed this treaty are also allowed to fish in US waters under the same agreements. In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission called for further reform of these laws in order to protect marine ecosystems (Castro & Huber, 2008). It discussed not only fishing, but the degradation of marine habitats. The by-catch and pollution must also be monitored. There have been positive results from this new management overall, though many salmon populations as well as other marine populations continue to be in decline. It is important that we as consumers choose fish products from sustainable fisheries and understand what this means for marine environments. If salmon continue to be fished and farmed in ways that are damaging to the environment, collapse of the entire industry may occur. This can cause unforeseen economic and ecologic problems that may be irreversible. Farming must be improved to make it more environmentally friendly, and fishing needs to be done on a sustainable

More about Migrating Salmon In The Pacific Northwest

Open Document