Pacific Salmon - Management Can Extend 900 Miles Inland
Pacific salmon swim immense distances in their migrations. For example, Chinook and sockeye salmon travel over 900 miles and climb nearly 7,000 feet from the Pacific Ocean as they return to central Idaho to spawn (National Fish Habitat Board, 2010).
Wild Salmon are a significant economic driver in Eastern Pacific, fetching $555 million in 2010 landings alone (NMFS, 2011b). Salmon also have tremendous cultural, recreational, and biological importance in the region.
Salmon are anadromous fish, living in the ocean but returning to fresh water to spawn. Because salmon can migrate hundreds of miles inland to spawn, successfully managing ocean salmon fisheries is an extremely complex task. Salmon species on the West Coast of the United States have experienced dramatic declines in abundance during the past several decades as a result of human-induced and natural factors, such as dams, habitat loss, urbanization, agricultural and logging practices, water diversion, and ocean and climatic conditions. Habitat loss and modification are believed to be the major factors determining the current status of salmonid populations.
A variety of conservation efforts have been undertaken, including captive rearing in hatcheries, removal and modification of dams that obstruct salmon migration, and restoration of degraded habitat. The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund was established by Congress in 2000 to support the restoration of salmon species. The fund is overseen by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and carried out by state and tribal governments (NMFS, 2011l).
For more information:
NOAA FishWatch: U.S. Seafood Facts
Fishing Communities of the United States, 2006
National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA Essential Fish Habitat Mapper