How we killed off the giant salmon of the Pacific Northwest in 50 years

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Natural abundance has its limits, especially when you dam the path to the breeding grounds-- as was the case with the giant Chinook salmon of the Pacific northwest. Seeing their enormous silvery forms leaping upriver is a miraculous sight in some of this archival footage, but a fish can’t leap over a 100-foot dam. The fish known as “june hogs” are no more.


What do you say?
 
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Gulfstream

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Overfishing,water diversion, habitat degradation, mismanagement poaching. .Now we can throw in climate changes....... All to blame
 
troutdude

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It's a sad situation, to say the least. And we lost them largely due to the "almighty dollar" and profit margins. I recall seeing some 70 pound Fall Nooks, on the Alsea, back in the 1960's. But now a 30 pounder is a beast. It's an absolute shame that we don't respect what we have; like indigenous tribes did.
 
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pinstriper

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It would be interesting to know the impact of marine mammal protection and population growth in all this.

Also, not to pick a fight, but what evidence is there that the tribes had any kind of approach other than "catch every fish you can, salt and smoke for storage" ? I mean, was there a quota ? A management plan ? Tags ? Bag limits ?

The thing that kept the tribes from doing what the white man did was a lack of technology and industrial base/development, near as I can tell.
 
Irishrover

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True the Grand Coulee dam became a road block for the June Hogs and perhaps they should have taken that into consideration prior to building the structure.

On the other hand it was there as well as Bonneville Dam to provide the power we need in the 1940s to defeat Japan and Germany. Those dams provided the electricity needed to produce aluminum for aircraft and other essential war materials. They provided the power for the shipyard in the Portland and Vancouver areas that built Liberty ships, Victory ships, and a multitude of other types of vessel.

The power from those dams now produce electricity for our homes, hospitals, schools and make our lives safer. I wish they would have thought of a way to save those fish but they didn't. One must step back in time a capture what those dams have provided and balance that against what was lost. We have gained flood control, power and irrigation. No more Vanport floods and loss of life. There are now capabilities to rebuild many salmon runs and that is the path we should take. The Umatilla River project was very successful and the Chinook have returned to that river. Best to recognize the mistake and move forward with the science we have to rebuild the runs.
 
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hobster

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It would be interesting to know the impact of marine mammal protection and population growth in all this.

Also, not to pick a fight, but what evidence is there that the tribes had any kind of approach other than "catch every fish you can, salt and smoke for storage" ? I mean, was there a quota ? A management plan ? Tags ? Bag limits ?

The thing that kept the tribes from doing what the white man did was a lack of technology and industrial base/development, near as I can tell.
That’s so silly, the native Americans didn’t need a “management plan” the fish were plentiful and they took what they needed. The runs were thriving until the white man came. Sorry but it’s true
 
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pinstriper

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That’s so silly, the native Americans didn’t need a “management plan” the fish were plentiful and they took what they needed. The runs were thriving until the white man came. Sorry but it’s true

Point is, they took what they needed and it didn't make a dent because the population was so low. They didn't sit around debating whether they were overfishing - they didn’t have the ability to overfish.
 
hobster

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Point is, they took what they needed and it didn't make a dent because the population was so low. They didn't sit around debating whether they were overfishing - they didn’t have the ability to overfish.
Seems we are in agreement, maybe I misunderstood you.
 
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pinstriper

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Seems we are in agreement, maybe I misunderstood you.

I am totally in agreement with how we got here. I am also saying the reason the natives didn’t do the same isn’t because they made any superior choices or had a different ethic. They simply weren’t developed enough to have done the same things. If their populations were higher and they had the same technologies, they would have done the same. All people want to feed their families and make a living.
 
troutdude

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Someone, it seems, actually was angling for an argument after all. And got one.

I shall not be a participant.

Carry on.
 
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Admin

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Well, I went to google to find out how dams ruin fish population. I found information that I was totally not expect to find.

Q: How many people have been displaced by dams?

A: Between 40 and 80 million, the majority of them in China and India.

Q: Aren’t people displaced by dams fairly compensated?

A: In nearly every case which has been studied the majority of people evicted - usually poor farmers and indigenous people - are further impoverished economically and suffer cultural decline, high rates of sickness and death, and great psychological stress. In some cases people receive no or negligible compensation for their losses. Where compensation is given, cash payments are very rarely enough to compensate for the loss of land, homes, jobs and businesses and replacement land for farmers is usually of poorer quality and smaller than original holdings.

Q: What happens when people refuse to move to make way for dams?

A: In many cases people have been forced out of their homes at gunpoint, in others they have simply been flooded out when the dam authorities started to fill the reservoir. In Guatemala in 1982, 369 Mayan Indians, mainly women and children, were murdered after their community refused to accept the inadequate compensation offered for the loss of their homes to the Chixoy Dam.
 
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Diamond Lake Charlie

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Just skimmed this very fast but it seems there is a culprit that has not been discussed and that is the netting techniques used in the oceans and the reduction of the spawning grounds. In short the main reason of the loss of the giant salmon is MAN, no matter how you look at it our own greed has been killing off the salmon.
 
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Spoonplugger1

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60 years ago we didn't have an abundance of large fish either. Keepers now, you had to throw back. Maybe we should try slot limit sizing like the sturgeon and the fishing on the east coast. Pretty soon everything will be searun cutthroat size. I think we're around 125 dams on the Columbia drainage, each one would only minimally effect fish according to the builders. no one is telling the irrigators to properly maintain their screens on the intakes either. Lots of agreements and regulations that should be honored aren't.
 
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shiverfix

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An interesting take on it. EDIT: You do have to get past the preachy beginning, but the information is interesting.

 
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Diehard

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they did a study a few years back on introducing oxygen down on the ocean floor located around schools of baitfish the results were amazing oregon saw a random good return of coho and steelhead that year I can't find the link now sorry off topic but interesting stuff apparently it was a cost effective fix and lost funding due too the low cost😔
 
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shiverfix

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Not sure. It showed up as something I would like on Amazon Prime, probably because of all the fishing shows I watch. Found it on YouTube to post here.
 
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