Pacific Wild Salmon, Why We Should Care
When choosing to buy salmon, the consumer is faced with essentially two choices: wild-caught salmon harvested by fishermen or farmed salmon grown and harvested in captivity. By choosing to ask for wild salmon at their local stores and restaurants, consumers use the power of the marketplace to help recover wild salmon stocks where they are in trouble and to help maintain fishable wild salmon stocks. Farmed salmon jeopardize wild salmon populations, directly and indirectly. Even “organically”, “ecologically”, or “sustainably” farmed salmon have a devestating impact on wild Pacific salmon species. Why?
What’s wrong with farmed salmon?
The “recipe” for wild salmon is pretty simple - cold, clean water; access to spawning and rearing areas; and abundant supplies of food. The conditions required by wild salmon are the same conditions required by other species, including humans. But some people think that maintaining wild salmon populations is too expensive and requires too much room. They’d like to farm salmon more “cost effectively” - some people are always looking for ways to do things on the cheap. Farming salmon requries dumping antibiotics and unnatural foods into our waterways; this pollutes the water used by native species and exposes wild salmon populations to infections and extra competition. The farmed salmon excrete alot of wastes from their pens, further polluting the water.
Your choice of wild-caught salmon in your marketplace or in your local restaurant is a vote for clean and abundant freshwater conditions and sensible fisheries management. It’s an investment in the cold, clean rivers that wild salmon and steelhead require. It’s your vote for free passage for salmon and steelhead to and from healthy, functional spawning and rearing habitat. By requesting wild Pacific salmon, you demand that we manage our healthy populations sustainably and recover the ones in trouble. Consumer choice matters and the market is paying attention. If we don’t ask for wild salmon, the market hears that too. Before long the choice itself is gone and artificial salmon are the only choice left.
Consumers who understand wild salmon’s intrinsic, nutritional, economic and ecological value and the businesses and fishing communities that serve those consumers have a responsibility to wild salmon and steelhead. Each of us can actively work for the conditions in the water, on the land, and in our management that make coexisting with wild salmon and steelhead possible. Just as we have a right to clean air and clean water, people have the right to expect healthy, self-sustaining, and fishable wild and native salmon and steelhead runs in our home waters. With that right comes the responsibility to demand it, and to take care of the conditions that make it possible. www.salmonaid.org.
137 Species Rely on Pacific Salmon
Pacific Salmon do a strange thing. After they spawn, they die.
In evolutionary terms, it seems counterproductive.Wouldn’tit be better if each fish lived to rear its young,and perhaps even get a second shot at spawning?
It turns out that Pacific Salmon, in their own way, are providing for their offspring. When salmon swim upstream, they are returning to the waters where they themselves hatched years before their bodies plump with eggs as well as the bounty of the seas.
After spawning, they leave their nutrient-rich carcasses behind. Many of the microscopic creatures that nibble on the carcasses eventually become prey for the next generation of fish. And so the parents nourish the young.
But salmon provide more than an indirect food source for baby salmon. At least 137 different species from grizzly bears to gray wolves depend on salmon for part of their diet. Even trees and plants benefit from the nutrients brought back by salmon from the seas.
It is awe-inspiring when you think about it. This mighty fish struggles up stream, jumping waterfalls, and its last act is sacrificing its body to ensure that the community that will raise its children will be thriving, teeming with life.
Which begs the question, what are we doing for our community, for the next generation?
Imagine what could be accomplished if we devoted our energies to the future the way that salmon do. Imagine if you will, a Nation of such salmon-people, leaping great obstacles to make a better place for their
offspring and their ecosystem.
Ed Hunt www.Salmonaid.org/news
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