Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Salmon: Not Just A Tasty Treat

Why are salmon so important? I myself was wondering why we should put so much energy and money into conserving the salmon population until I began to look at what the effects would be if they were gone. Native Americans believe that the return of the salmon each year represents the continuation and prosperity of all life. In a way this is true. Salmon are sensitive to their environmental conditions and their returning numbers depend on these conditions. Salmon bring a large biomass to the freshwater and terrestrial ecosystem. Their carcasses provide phosphorus to the land which is spread out by large apex predators, such as eagles and brown bears.  The carcasses also provide food for small invertebrate (whose presence indicates good water quality) which in turn are food for the juvenile salmonids.  When there is a decline in the number of salmon it indicates that our ecosystem is also declining.  This, however, is not the only reason we should care about salmon. A primary food source for most people and the jobs that are created from the salmon industry are in danger if we are to let the salmon population disappear. Thousands of individuals are employed each year in the salmon industry, and bring in millions of dollars in profits. The fate of salmon lies within us to try to restore our ecosystem, preserve our cultural heritage, and see to it that thousands of individuals keep their jobs.