It’s late July and I’m standing with Daniel Schindler at the mouth of Sam Creek, a small tributary of western Alaska’s Bristol Bay, home to the largest wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world. The mouth of the creek—barely 20 feet wide—boils with fish. Schindler, a renowned salmon biologist, estimates that there are some 500 sockeye at our feet, their bodies gone cherry red and heads a copper-ore green because it’s spawning time.

“Geez, that’s a big run,” he chuckles.

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