Wednesday, February 26, 1997
Among the many kinds of fish harvested each year by commercial fisheries is the
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha or Chinook salmon. The United States catches an averages of about
three hundred million pounds of salmon each year. However some Chinook salmon have been
recently listed as threatened. Man has been the main cause for the decline in Chinook salmon
The populations of Chinook salmon have declined for several reasons. Hydropower and
it's destructiveness to the environment, pollution, and overfishing are the three main causes for
the decline. The Chinook salmon is known for traveling the greatest distance back to its
spawning grounds, often traveling one to two thousand miles inland. This long journey is now
often interrupted by hydroelectric plants. Hydropower is a very good alternative resource for
power, however it is very damaging to our salmon populations. The dams block off rivers,
which block the salmon's path back to their breeding grounds.
The salmon go back to the same
areas, just as their ancestors did, to lay their eggs. The hydropower plant's turbines are also very
dangerous to young salmon. Many of them are killed by the giant turbines on their way back to
the ocean. Killing off many of the salmons new generation. Pollution is also a killer of many
Chinook salmon. Pollution caused by sewage, farming, grazing, logging and mining find it's
way into our waters. These harmful substances kill many species of fish and other marine life.
The Chinook salmon is no exception. The chemicals are dumped into the rivers and streams and
eventually these chemicals find their way to the ocean, polluting and effecting each area they
pass through. The largest contributor to the decline in the Chinook salmon population is the
commercial fishing industry. From...