I do well with listening to the lectures and then doing some reading on the side to get a deeper understanding of what we learned. Whether that be studies with a similar topic or news articles about current issues in fisheries. I think that helps make things really stick in my brain. Having a deeper understanding that I can apply to everyday conversations makes it easier for me to ditch my notes. I am lucky to have friends in fisheries and I believe being able to go out and chat, learn, and grow from them helps me immensely. I didn’t use any notes thus far and feel like I did well on the quiz. I really did have to think hard though when making my posts to make sure I was touching every subject required to get full credit. Next time around I will do the same as I have done, but maybe try to take more physical notes to study with prior since the quiz seemed to be based on something we spoke about in particular during lecture. It is nice to have quizzes that really pick at your brain and make you think. Those are the questions that make me excited to learn more in fisheries and have a deeper understanding.
Salmo Domesticus, or better yet, domestic salmon are salmon whose genetics have been carefully chosen to profit, grow and reproduce the fastest with the least work. They are much like your typical broiler chicken who grows too large to stand by month three of growth and is good for nothing but the dinner table. Using selective breeding, performance traits are bred into the domesticated species making it extremely dangerous just in itself to the wild populations. I remember reading a related study that proved after multiple generations of sitting in extremely crowded raceways, juvenile farmed salmon much out-competed wild salmon in that life stage due to learned aggression. (I will attach said study when I locate it!) These Norwegian bred farmed salmon now have stronger survival traits (such as aggression), increased disease resistance and increased growth rates, among other things. The possibility of these farmed fish interbreeding with wild fish and ruining genetic adaptiveness of wild fish is likely and is already in motion. The fight for space and food is also a very worrisome possibility. Genetics can be altered immensely when these, basically invasive species, are introduced due to populations sizes being changed and genetic drift taking place.
So, to put it in perspective: Imagine farmed fish with the strong survival rates due to increased aggression and size at the juvenile stage being put in with wild fish who are smaller and lack the aggression. The fish who survive (farmed) have lower genetic diversity, reduced predator response, lower survival in wild after the juvenile stage, smaller eggs, less drive to spawn properly, a completely different body and fin shape and also have absolutely no stream knowledge. The farmed fish show up late to rivers and dig up the wild fish eggs, thus replacing wild offspring with their own. These farmed fish risk killing off our entire wild population in time and destroying the wild gene pool forever. Once these farmed fish in the wild hit maturity, they risk not even spawning or surviving. Could this mean a total loss of salmon? I think we can suspect that as an outcome far down the road.
“I couldn’t help but think that in a way the future of wild salmon and the future of the Yupik people were somehow sadly parallel to each other.” This comment by Greenberg is such a bold, yet understandable and valuable sentiment. When a community’s life is based upon spiritual and physical worlds being interconnected- we must remember what salmon are and mean to the Yup’ik. Salmon are not just a food source, they are a way of life. From the small milestones of studies proving that Yup’ik peoples’ health has benefited from the Omega-3 rich salmon preventing them from diseases like diabetes and obesity to the smokehouses that stay full of protein all winter when hunting is not an option for the community. The way children are brought up and the way members of the community interact due to the salmon runs.
Salmon proved perseverance to Alaskan Natives. They proved when you take only what you need and do not take with greed, life is sustainable on both ends. Settlers would soon show how true that was. To no surprise, Native Alaskans have had a productive economy based on salmon much before the arrival of settlers. Yup’ik have never had to rely on money to get them through a season, or better yet, a lifetime. Imagine the shock to the community it would bring to one day have no fish to make life go round. I think it’s fair to say without a lush run of salmon, Yup’ik people will have lost a large piece of their self, heritage, and the safety net for survival in some of the most harsh places that contain human life. Though, with that being said, this is obviously a resilient community who can likely survive a lot more than we’d think. I believe deep down, there could absolutely be adaptation, but would they still feel the will to live a life that is not the one they were intended to- on the outskirts of corporate America?
Greenberg found a fishing hole near his home that produced large fish (Large Mouth Bass) and became, what sounded like, one of his favorite past-times. The pond ends up having a mass die-off of the Large Mouth Bass for a reason unknown. I think this sets a fire beneath Greenberg to figure out why.
I did live in a mountainous area in Colorado for a few years called “Leadville.” This area sits at 10,200 feet making it the highest municipality in the United States and we were the epicenter of some phenomenal fly fishing streams. If I drove downhill a little ways, I’d hit a river called the Blue River. This river was ranked as a “Gold Medal Stream” which means there are a certain amount of large fish per square mile. I fished that river almost every day, like many others, and caught a few monster rainbow trout, but the fishing was extremely slow. The next year the Blue River was downgraded to a “Bronze Medal Stream.” I remember seeing fisheries crews floating down the river shocking it for data and seeing countless fish full of gill lice, tons of deformed hatchery rainbows, and every 22″+ fish missing maxillas from fishermen removing hooks roughly. I still don’t know why to this day why exactly the fishery went downhill so quickly outside of high pressure fishing, but it really did strike an interest in me to learn more about our fisheries and fish in general.
As for how Greenberg would have felt about worldwide fish stocks, I think he’d be at a loss to say. He had only been introduced to a small pond in a small area of Connecticut. I believe he’d say something is likely going on, but it’s hard to say just what at this moment. When you see your first mass die-off- i’m sure you know there’s a problem brewing somewhere, so this is likely the beginning to his journey on the health of our fisheries around the world. I think Greenberg will become more pessimistic throughout the book in ways, but optimistic that we can fix the problems with our fisheries before it’s too late. Once you can pinpoint the issue at hand, you can begin to make a change.