All posts by Matt Wallace

Fish Tank Salmo domesticus

The Norwegian brothers spent generations on expending their vision on the expansion of farmed salmon production.  They took into consideration of wild cattle becoming domesticated well before their lifetime.  The breeding of salmon came from 40 different rivers.  Every species had similar but yet different character and traits.  Salmon are very unique when considering the amount of offspring they can have.  Their eggs are very large when compared to other species which created ample opportunity to generate or manipulate a living species.  Through innovation and creativity, they expanded their farmed salmon into a global enterprise.  The foundation was laid before them with many questions unanswered, and I see it as them taking the initiative and applying their knowledge to create to the product seen throughout the markets today.

I can see salmo domesticus being as simple as newly farmed salmon adapting to their new environments.  They are no longer wild and surviving within different regions has been instilled genetically.  Regardless of where their original genes may have came from, they now have been genetically modified or engineered (whatever you want to call it)  from genetic material from ocean pout to help create a sort of different brand of their species.  A species that would amplify the growth rate year round.  These genetically engineered salmon will reach their market size in a shorter period when compared to  regular farmed salmon.

A great point was made in class today about being no hatchery within the Yukon system.  Was there ever attempts made to create one or leaving it as  a Wild river by choice?  I believe the Native people within the Yukon could definitely coexist with this new balance.  They may lose the findings of wild salmon, but at the same time find new opportunities to continue tradition.  One who may reap the benefits would go to global corporation such as AquaBounty.  They are the Amazon (company) of all the “fresh market” fish well se in our supermarkets.  I will say that creating anything that is not natural have great potential of leading to a devastating outcome when going unchecked. I honestly have not looked into depth on this matter, but without long term trials of this rubbish will make me stand by.  I see the consumers being the ones suffering.  This company will produce salmon eggs in a research hatchery and ship those eggs to Panama where the fish will be raised to market size.  I have to ask myself how this farming differs from something like a cattle farm?  Maybe the exploitation of science is not the best course of action when it comes to food security?  Sorry for the ranting.

FTT 15SEP2020

The Yupik people rely heavily on this resource to sustain their lifestyle.  They have been doing so for thousands of years.  Harvesting the salmon annually while passing on from generation to generation.  They teach and coach their children the traditional techniques used for survival.  Being positioned in the Yukon Delta places them in an environment that demands respect.  There is no last minute running to the closet Fred Meyer to grab ingredients much needed for supper.  When a king landed in the net, there was a decision to be made.  Either keep it for a nice feast or look at your options.  They found a way around the regulation by choosing to barter instead of selling of kings.  I personally agree 100% with this type of action.  That type of action is the same as what would happen if the dollar bill were to loose it’s value.  The salmon run continued to dip with showing very little sign of hope.  The annual harvest would seem something of the past as the salmon being consumed now is more like digging into your survival stockpile.  The direct impact on the Yupik people’s health have been affected significantly both physically and mentally.  Even through pain and suffering, the Yupik’s still managed to pull together relief donations for Hurricane Katrina.  That is just amazing to be so unselfish and help out families in need.

The desire to eat salmon inclined amongst the world population as the  salmon to human ration did a complete 180.  The wild salmon a have been disappearing from the Pacific Northwest along with other regions around the globe.  What if there was more limits for commercial and personal use?  Why not deliver less than the demanding twenty thousand pounds of salmon?  How many pounds of that delivering go to waste?  It’s like putting food on your plate and you don’t dare leave the table without finishing every bite.  The market for salmon never seem to adapt to the changing population.  The greed of the consumer directly displaced the Yupik people.  Their foundation of survival is based on salmon just like the folks at Pikes market in Seattle.  I agree with Paul’s statement to a certain extent that the Yupik chances of survival are becoming more challenging, but if the situation dictated a massive change, the people will come together and find another way to live.  It’s human instinct to survive.  Like the wild salmon.  We may see less numbers of wilds, but I believe they too will find a way to adapt and survive.

Fish Tank Thursday

Paul was ambitious fishermen as a child.  Always looking for the next opportunity to drop a line in the water.  After two years of living in Greenwich, CT, Paul’s passion for fishing took over his summer mornings and nights.  They resided in a rental cottage on a large estate that provided easy access for any resident or tourist  wanting to fish the lakes or streams.   The winter of 1978 seemed to have a significant impact on the water.  Constant sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.  During this time, I believe Paul would have stated that the fisheries becoming extinct and by the end of the book, he may become more optimistic as he matures.

I grew up in a small town and spent countless weekends at my grandpa’s cottage fishing the Mississippi for bluegill and crappie.  His cottage was tucked just off the river along with hundreds of other dwellings.  My family also enjoyed going to northern Wisconsin to a very touristy attractive town of Hayward and fish walleye and musky.  Regardless of the lake or river fished, we almost never came home empty handed.  This part of my life was sort of similar to Paul’s early years fishing off large real estate areas that had easy public access.

Another part of my life I was in the state of Washington.  I lived there for nine years and was grateful to have such vast fishing opportunity within reasonable travel time.  There were several rivers that I loved to fish.  The Columbia, Nisqually, Cowlitz, Carbon, and the Skokomish rivers.  I would travel to each of them at different times of the year.  The production I would get out of each is what made me return to the same spot every year.   This is where I learned what “combat fishing” was all about.

Around fall of 2007  and into 2008, I started to get skunked more and more.  Parking areas and river bank crowds became scarce.   I never really  looked up the fishing reports as the fishing was always great.  I started to dig in and found similarities in many of the rivers.  The fish count seemed to be declining.   Fishing reports no longer got me excited.  Regulations seemed to constantly change throughout the season.   Rivers tend to have higher water than the previous year and washouts would create new shorelines.   By the time I really started paying attention, the Army told me I had to move.   It’s funny how ten years later, I am finding myself more curious learn about what may have disrupted the patterns of these fish.