Several years ago, Mike and I hosted a Protein Power cruise on Holland America Lines from Vancouver up the coast of Alaska to Glacier Bay. The trip offered some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever viewed: pristine skies, deeply forested land, clear waters teeming with marine life. Breathtaking beauty.
On one excursion, we helicoptered across the vast expanse of glacial ice to walk on the glaciers (as we sipped champagne and nibbled fudge–my kind of trek for sure). It was an unforgettable experience to stand on that frozen sheet and listen to the noisy snapping and popping the glacier makes and to look into the chasms with their unearthly aquamarine light and hear the roar of water beneath them.
On another excursion, we paddled sea kayaks up into the quite estuaries to where the salmon spawn. At the mouths of the streams, the fish were literally roiling the water with activity, leaping from the surface high enough that one could have easily landed inside the kayaks. Another truly amazing experience.
So it was with dismay that I read the article by Terence Chea in last weeks paper: Salmon Collapse may prompt fishing ban.
The situation is dire, as Mr. Chea writes:
…only about 90,000 adult chinook [king salmon] returned to the Central Valley last fall — the second lowest number on record and well below the number needed to maintain a healthy fishery. That number is projected to fall to a record low of 58,000 this year. By contrast, 775,000 adults were counted in the Sacramento River and its tributaries as recently as 2002.
“This stock got off-the-charts bad very suddenly,” said Donald McIsaac, the council’s executive director. “It’s a very, very severe situation.”
For those of us who love to eat salmon it’s a situation we should watch. For those who make their living fishing for salmon, it’s a nightmare. We can expect that salmon prices will rise, but it will be worth the effort if it means recovery of this natural resource.