This year, the trip north was smooth and calm. Even the open crossings at Dixon Entrance were mellow. It took four days to bring the boat north this summer. We arrived just in enough time to head to Kendrick Bay for our first four day opener in southeast Alaska. The weather turned for the worst as soon as we arrived in Alaska. So, the last four days were spent rolling and bucking around in sloppy seas.
Pacific salmon play a vital part of our worlds ecology. Over 22 different species feed off the bounty of the salmon‘s epic yearly migration. For millions of years, the salmon ruled the pacific ocean and populations flourished thought out the Pacific Rim. Native cultures revered these massive returns as gifts and celebrated each season’s salmon return with art and ceremony. In 1779, Captain James Cook discovered the Columbia River and its salmon bounty while searching for the inside passage. Once the Europeans hit the west coast, large-scale salmon exporting by the Hudson Bay Fishery ramped up. In 1876, the first salmon cannery opened in Astoria and there were 70 more along the coast by the turn of the century.
Salmon production vigorously continued along the coast well in the next century. By the mid 1900’s, it was obvious that the salmon stocks were in serious decline. Mismanagement by the federal government was blamed for most of the problems, then in 1959 Alaska became a state and took control of the fisheries. New management techniques included escapement, which ensured that sufficient numbers of salmon escape capture to ensure the health of future spawning generations. Even with new measures in effect, salmon stocks declined to record lows in 1972. The Limited Entry Act passed in 1973 to regulate the overall number of permits. This system has proved successful in rebuilding the salmon runs to today’s epic standards.
The history of salmon is full of flaws and mistakes, yet the saga of salmon defines the west coast. This majestic fish still dominates Pacific waters and provides the world with one of nature’s greatest proteins. Salmon have survived through all the hardships man has delivered over the years and remains one of natures greatest events. Next time salmon is on your dinner plate, think of the history of a truly amazing fish.
WASHINGTON — In Canada’s Fraser River, a mysterious illness has killed millions of Pacific salmon, and scientists have a new hypothesis about why: The wild salmon are suffering from viral infections similar to those linked to some forms of leukemia and lymphoma.
For 60 years before the early 1990s, an average of nearly 8 million wild salmon returned from the Pacific Ocean to the Fraser River each year to spawn.
Now the salmon industry is in a state of collapse, with mortality rates ranging from 40 percent to 95 percent.
The salmon run has been highly variable: The worst year came in 2009, with 1.5 million salmon, followed by the best year in 2010, with 30 million salmon. But the overall trend is downward.
via Pacific salmon may be dying from leukemia-type virus | McClatchy.