Saving the Pacific Salmon

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saving the Pacific Salmon

English 101
4/26/2011
Saving the Pacific Salmon Salmon are one of the most important fish species in the world, and in the Pacific Northwest the fish are a way of life for many species of plants and animals, including humans. The major problem that humans are facing is that the population of wild salmon is dangerously low as compared to historic numbers due to over-fishing and human degradation (including dams, chemical pollution and land use impacts.). Pacific Salmon are now extinct in forty percent of the rivers they once thrived in (Four Fish). Zoologist George Suckley stated in 1854, that the Pacific coast salmon were “one of the striking wonders of the region...these fish....astonish by number, and confuse with variety.”(In a Sea of Trouble) and that “The quantities for salmon which frequent these waters is beyond calculation, and seems to be so great as to challenge human ingenuity to effect it in any way.” (In a Sea of Trouble). In order to get a better grasp on the problems humans are causing we need to first understand the salmon's life cycle. In the Pacific Northwest there are five different species of salmon: Chinook, Pink, Dog, Coho, and Silver. All of which are anadromous basically meaning that they live in both fresh and salt water. These fish start life hatching many miles upstream on the gravel beds in rivers on the pacific coasts of North America, and Asia, were they grow into smolts as they are carried downstream to the sea. Once at sea the salmon spend one to seven years maturing. Then for reasons unknown to scientists, a homing impulse triggers them to make an astonishing journey back to the very river or tributary they were hatched in (Salmon). At least that is how it is supposed to work. When Lewis and Clark made their famous expedition nearly two centuries ago they marveled at the “great quants. of Salmon” they had seen in the Columbia River in Washington State, which in 1860 produced sixteen million

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