Chinook Salmon Essay

739 words - 3 pages

- -Environmental ScienceWednesday, February 26, 1997Chinook SalmonAmong the many kinds of fish harvested each year by commercial fisheries is theOncorhynchus tshawytscha or Chinook salmon. The United States catches an averages of aboutthree hundred million pounds of salmon each year. However some Chinook salmon have beenrecently listed as threatened. Man has been the main cause for the decline in Chinook salmonpopulations.The populations of Chinook salmon have declined for several reasons. Hydropower andit's destructiveness to the environment, pollution, and overfishing are the three main causes forthe decline. The Chinook salmon is known for traveling the greatest distance back to itsspawning grounds, often traveling one to two thousand miles inland. This long journey is nowoften interrupted by hydroelectric plants. Hydropower is a very good alternative resource forpower, however it is very ...view middle of the document...

The Chinook salmon is no exception. The chemicals are dumped into the rivers and streams andeventually these chemicals find their way to the ocean, polluting and effecting each area theypass through. The largest contributor to the decline in the Chinook salmon population is thecommercial fishing industry. From a period of 1990-1992 815,000 Chinook salmon were caughtby commercial fisheries. This does not include the 354,000 recreational catches.Commercial fishing is a big industry. Commercial fishers use nets, which they pull byboats. Some nets are designed so the holes in the nets are large enough for the head of the fish tofit through, and then the mesh gets caught in the fish's gills. Others are designed to circlearound a school of fish and then is drawn shut. New technologies have developed factory sterntrawlers which easily haul netloads of up to 100 metric tons of fish. However, when catching thesalmon, fisherman use pound nets to catch the fish on their way to their spawning grounds. Theaverage annual salmon catch in just the United States is about 300 million pounds, of that about60 percent is canned. Salmon canning is one of the major industries of the pacific coast.To decrease the rate at which the salmon population is falling the U.S. Fish and Wildlifeservice yearly deposits billions of young salmon and eggs into natural breeding grounds. Salmonare also raised in and then deposited. The National Marine Fisheries Service has also proposeda recovery plan for the Chinook salmon. They plan to improve migration conditions, byincreasing the area around the dams so that the salmon can get through. Also they plan toprotect the fishes' spawning habitat, by improving the general management. They would alsolike to develop alternative harvesting methods.The effects that man has had on the Chinook salmon and many other species of salmon is verysevere, any are labeled as threatened. We can reduce the causes of their population decrease byreducing the amount of fish we catch annually, reducing pollution dumped into their habitats,and by developing ways for the fish to bypass the dams.

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