Messy Is Good for Fish

Northwest Fisheries Science Center –

Puget Sound’s iconic salmon are struggling. A team of researchers led by fish biologist Tim Beechie at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) have begun an ambitious, long-term program to monitor and track changes in the natural habitat most essential to the health and survival of threatened steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon. A new Technical Memorandum, the first report on this program, has just been published at NWFSC.

It’s Not Just Overfishing
The mighty salmon. It’s a beautiful, powerful fish, a symbol of the Pacific Northwest. It’s delicious, too. Eaten raw, smoked, baked, or canned, salmon is tied with tuna and second only to shrimp as the most popular seafood in America.

Steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon are all threatened species. Overfishing is certainly part of the problem—if they didn’t taste so good, we might be less inclined to pull them out of the water. But it’s not the only challenge they face. Less obvious, but arguably more significant, are the changes we’ve made to the natural environments these fish call home.

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