Study of salmon history offers Alaska insight

Populations around the world have long understood the basics of what it takes to keep salmon populations healthy. In fact, one early ruling in Europe noted that no one is to obstruct a salmon stream so that a well-fed, 3-year-old pig could not stand sideways in it.
Geologist David Montgomery uncovered this and many other fascinating findings as he researched the history of salmon around the world. Montgomery focused not only on salmon of the Pacific Northwest — where he lives — but also much farther back, for his book, “King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon,” which came out in 2004.
As keynote speaker of the 2015 Kachemak Bay Science Conference last week, Montgomery told a standing-room-only crowd about his findings, which documented that it was not ignorance that led to the demise of salmon populations in Europe or New England. In fact, it wasn’t even a lack of regulation. Instead, the problem came with how regulations were applied and enforced that impacted fish populations.
“The question is, ‘Are the experiences in other regions relevant to Alaska salmon,’” Montgomery said, noting that Alaska is the last place in the world where salmon populations remain largely strong.
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