Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon

Saving Salmon-and People-in the Next Century

Jay W. Nicholas


The invitation to contribute a chapter to this book was deceptively simple and ever so enticing: describe what must be done to ensure that significant, sustainable runs of wild salmon will persist in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and southern British Columbia) and California in 2100. Be brutally honest, be candid, be clear, and speak from the heart in describing what must be done if society really wants wild salmon to persist.

OK. Here goes.

I believe that the effort to sustain wild salmon in the region is as dependent on swaying public opinion as on science, law, management, or restoration.

Excuse me?

I actually believe that saving salmon (as something more than a museum piece) depends on emotion more than objectivity, on the heart more than the mind. I believe that human society can choose to sustain wild salmon in much of the Pacific Northwest and California—or could choose not to sustain them. It is that simple. The cost of saving salmon is likely to be significant (see Lackey et al. 2006, this volume). The benefit is also likely to be great.