The Life of Salmon

Salmon is one of my favorite fish to cook and eat, I never thought to think about their life cycle. Last class we watched a video all about the Salmon and their cycle, there was no sound just beautiful images and scenery of some of the nature and animals in Alaska. The film started with the salmon eggs hatching in a beautiful stream. I was amazed by how large of a group the Salmon hatch in. Literally the entire stream was covered as almost the salmon were the water. The Salmon then have this instinct to swim to the ocean where they mate and grow and become these beautiful fish with sparkling silver scales that seem almost flourescent in the water. When the salmon are matured they once again get this instinct to swim back to the stream in which they were once born in. I find this fascinating, because I never thought of fish being intelligent creatures, but I guess much like everything on earth it has its unique purpose and contribution to nature or society. When the salmon go back to the stream they begin to change. They begin to look as if they are rotting. The scales turn to this reddish-brown color, they are no longer shiny, they grow these horrific sets of sharp teeth and parts of their flesh looks as if its been torn off their bodies. It’s a sad thought, but the Salmon in my mind becomes this noble creature. They swim back to the stream, and the journey seems to be forever long and painfully unpleasant, due to the fact they are dying while swimming. Once the salmon reach the stream for the task at hand, which is to give birth to a new life cycle of Salmon. The female Salmon hatch the eggs and the males swish their fins to bury a hole in the bottom of the stream for the eggs to be buried. Once this process has happened the cycle comes to an end and the salmon all die. Within nature however, the cycle still continues. The dead Salmon feed the birds and the bears come and take the dead Salmon to land to eat and the remains become a natural fertilizer. I now know that Salmon aren’t just a fish to eat they hold a purpose within nature and it just goes to show that animals or living beings that I use to not care about serve a purpose in the world and that all these living things are actually important and should not be taken for granted.       Salmon Jumping Brooks Falls Katmai Natl Park SW Alaska summer scenic

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One thought on “The Life of Salmon

  1. I, too, am a big fan of salmon. As a matter of fact, I have a salmon fillet defrosting right now for dinner tonight. I enjoyed reading this post because it illuminated a different side of the story: the role of fish before they end up on our plates. I think it’s very difficult for humans to grasp ocean wildlife conservation because we’re so distanced from it. We never actually see the process of catching, manufacturing and packaging fish for food. We only see the plastic bags in the grocery frozen sections, decorated with eye-catching logos and labels listing all the benefits of getting your “proteins and omega 3s!” The beauty of salmon is completely eliminated. It just becomes another menu item.
    But does that mean we must deprive ourselves? In the video on Sylvia Earle, she said there are other ways to obtain the nutrients we get from eating fish. You can eat aquatic plants, for example. But what if we don’t like the taste? What if such plants are much more expensive or harder to obtain? And plus, couldn’t that lead to over-harvesting of aquatic vegetation? Sure, it could be an alternative to eating salmon, but ridding of too many plants could also lead to problems for underwater ecosystems.
    It’s unfortunate, but I think some problems can’t be 100% solved. Realistically, humans are not going to stop eating salmon. It’s a healthy crowd favorite and, even if they recognize the problem of overfishing, people will never want it completely removed from their diets, myself included.

    -Brenna Thummler

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