The salmonid family includes species in three subfamilies: the salmonines (trout, salmon, and char), the thymallines (grayling), and coregonines (whitefish, cisco, and felchen). Complex associations of salmonid taxa evolved in thousands of aquatic ecosystems located between ∼35°N and 70°N latitude. On the basis of historical data, many of these associations, with perhaps ten thousand or more identifiably separate stocks within the set of salmonid species, can be classified into several major regional super-complexes. One of these super-complexes uses the tributaries of the North Pacific Basin and another uses the freshwater streams and lakes of the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin. By 1994 only part of one super-complex still exhibits a measure of natural integrity, that of the northern part of the North Pacific. The paper focuses on hemispheric-level cultural phenomena, especially as related to “industrial progress,” that are deemed responsible for this great salmonid blight. It also traces some beginnings of reform that may yet reverse the blight’s northward movement, especially in the Pacific Basin if climate warming does not occur rapidly. The science and techniques that were created to conserve valued stocks may actually, inadvertently, have contributed to their devastation because it offered too little too late. A hemispheric Wild Salmonid Watch is urged to protect salmon but also monitor the reform of the cultural blight that has harmed all of nature and humans as a result.
- North American Free Trade Agreement
- Maximum Sustainable Yield
- Recreational Fishery
- Laurentian Great Lake
- Bioeconomic Model
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