I didn’t really know what to expect for this quiz. This is all completely new material for me and I felt that I had a lot of thoughts rolling around in my brain. To consolidate them right before the quiz I went over my notes. However, I found my notes scattered and with holes, so I went back into the lectures to fill in the gaps.
Moving forward I want to take more thorough notes and even rewrite them in a less frantic scribble. I want to redo the notes that I have previously done to refresh some of the beginning material. I know an area where I struggle is data interpretation so I will need to spend some more time looking at the graphs provided in class to get comfortable with figuring out what the graph is trying to tell me. I know in the past flash cards have helped me and may look to do those in preparation for studying for the midterm. Lastly, I feel I need to slow down and be more deliberate with my words so as to convey my answers more in line with what I am thinking and that is going to require becoming more comfortable with the scientific lingo we are learning.
According to Greenberg, Salmo domesticus is the most successful salmon in the world. But what is it? Salmo domesticus is the end result of a Norwegian breeding program aimed at producing a salmon that grew bigger, faster. One thing that enabled them to do this was the enormous genetic potential within the wild salmon population. Early breeders discovered that by crossing all the lines of different salmon families you would get a salmon that grew faster than the previous generation. So, within just two generations the Norwegians were able to create a salmon with double the growth rate compared to its wild counterpart.
When trying to decide if Salmo domesticus is a blessing or a curse I remembered this quote from the book, ”Humans now outnumber wild salmon by a ratio of seven to one. What would happen if every human on earth demanded wild salmon instead of farmed salmon? Instant extinction.”
I think that with most human advancements Salmo domesticus has the potential to be both. Regardless we created it, it probably is not going to go away so it needs to be managed responsibly so as not to become a liability to our wild stock and the communities that rely on those wild populations . However, with responsible management, I think it has the potential to bring a more affordable salmon to the dinner table. Especially in areas where fish is not a readily available animal protein and is expensive.
I think that Greenberg was trying to illustrate how interconnected the Yupik people are to wild salmon runs. I feel a lot of people, especially the further they get away from their food source, are incredibly disconnected. I know I have been guilty of it, not thinking or caring where my food came from and the effect it had on other’s or the environment.
I think the parallel that Greenberg was attempting to illustrate is that, like with the salmon runs, we don’t know when a threshold has been crossed and the Yupik can no longer survive. I feel that he conveyed this point beautifully by saying how a large portion of Alaskan salmon may be on “human life support already” and we just won’t know unless we stop stocking those rivers. He then goes onto stay how he felt it was unlikely without outside help that the Yupik people would stay in the Yukon River flood plains. Just like with stocked rivers we wouldn’t know if the Yupik people could survive with that outside assistance.
I am inclined to agree with Greenberg that the Yupik people and the future of salmon are parallel. The Yupik people rely greatly on the salmon runs however I wonder if perhaps the health of the salmon runs depend on the Yupik. With their knowledge, connection and through their stewardship, the Yupik have kept the salmon run healthy, long before fish and game regulations. So perhaps if the voices of the Yupik are heard, we wont end up crossing that threshold and both people are fish will have a future.
Paul Greenberg spent his childhood bouncing around from home to home with his mother and brother in Greenwich, Connecticut. He speaks fondly of one of these homes that had a pond with the biggest largemouth bass he had ever seen. Unfortunately, in the winter of 1978, they died. This lead Greenberg to search out more bountiful hunting grounds which eventually took him to the ocean. There he spent several summers learning where and when fish would arrive based on landmarks and which flora was in bloom. His childhood affair with fishing ended when he turned 18 but he returned to Connecticut in his early thirties to care for his mother. It was by her request that he picked up fishing again however, what he noticed about the current fishing scene was quite different from his childhood memories of Long Island Sound. This led him on quite a different quest, what was happening to the world’s fisheries as he saw the same four fish showcased in fish market after fish market regardless of whether he was in Maine or Florida.
I can relate to Greenberg’s curiosity with my work however, my work is mechanical and not nature based.
At this point in the book I feel like Greenberg would have had quite a pessimistic view about the health of the world’s fisheries because he speaks of the local variety of fish that was sold, he sold as a kid, dwindled down to four.
I think at the end of the book Greenberg may have a more optimistic view as his insight become more wholistic.