Got Wild Salmon? A Scientific and Ethical Analysis of Salmon Recovery in the Pacific Northwest and California
Steven A. Kolmes and Russell A. Butkus
Human beings and wild salmon within the coastal regions from British Columbia to Southern California are at a major crossroads. The geographical biome from northern California to British Columbia is referred to by some as the Cascadia bioregion. This region combined with Alaska and Southern California forms the area that Ecotrust has dubbed “Salmon Nation.” “Salmon Nation” is an intriguing concept highlighting the connection between humans and wild salmon on the Pacific coast and is, perhaps, an indication of growing public awareness of the current state of wild salmon runs and a positive sign of shifting public values around attempts to recover these indigenous species. Nevertheless, as positive a development as the notion of Salmon Nation might be, the realistic and forthright historical, scientific, and social analysis offered by Lackey et al. (2006a, 2006c, 2006d, all this volume) in the opening chapters clearly indicates that the future of wild salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest and California is in serious jeopardy if current demographic trends continue. In our own independent analysis and critique of salmon science and policy, we have stated that “Until we recognize that habitat destruction, caused by human population density and the over-consumption of resources, is the root of the salmon’s decline, the attempts to restore these magnificent species will be little more than a Band- Aid on the festering wound of extinction” (Butkus and Kolmes 2004).