Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon

Science and Technology Are Essential for Sustaining Salmon Populations and Their Ecosystems

E. Eric Knudsen and Eric G. Doyle


In his invitation to participate in this visionary Salmon 2100 project, we were challenged by Bob Lackey and his colleagues to address several questions. First, “is it possible to have healthy Pacific Northwest and California wild salmon populations in 2100?” We believe the answer is YES, but only if certain broad conditions are met that respond to Lackey et al.’s (2006a, this volume) second question, “what would society need to do to ensure significant, sustainable runs of wild salmon in California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and southern British Columbia in 2100 and beyond?” Our answer: nothing short of simultaneous, aggressive actions on the broad policy areas stated below, most of which have been addressed in other chapters, and each of which must be prioritized socially, politically, and economically if we are to have successful salmon runs in 2100.

• All habitat must be protected or restored, and currently intact watersheds must be permanently protected by reserves encompassing all critical salmonid habitats.
• Dams and culverts blocking access to useful salmon habitat should be breached, retrofitted, or laddered as necessary to ensure complete upstream and downstream access.
• Natural streamflows, now influenced by dams, irrigation, logging, and urban development, should be protected and restored to their prealtered character.
• Fishing by all sectors must be stopped completely, or reduced as necessary, wherever total run sizes are below levels thought to occur prior to 1850, so that natural populations have an opportunity to rebuild.
• The scientific and technical basis for salmon harvest and habitat management must be advanced significantly for salmon populations to be sustainably harvestable.