Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon

Wild Salmon in the 21st Century: Energy, Triage, and Choices

Kenneth Ashley


Making predictions 100 years into the future is risky business. For example, 2003 was the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, yet no one in 1903 could have predicted how aviation would change the course of human history. Making predictions about the status of wild salmon in California and the Pacific Northwest in 2100 is equally daunting, as this essentially involves predicting how society will function in 2100. What is different this time is that we know what the problems are and have many ideas on how to solve them. The primary uncertainty is whether society is willing to make the necessary changes to its collective behavior, particularly in the contentious areas of population growth, consumer lifestyle, and energy requirements. These three factors exert a powerful multiplier effect known as demophoric growth (Vallentyne 1974) that amplifies their effect and underlies most of the problems facing wild salmon in California and the Pacific Northwest.