Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Salmon Fish Moving North To Arctic

As another possible result of global warming, salmon fish have turned up in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. Scientists say salmon and other marine life are responding to warmer waters and reduced ice in the Bering Sea and the Beaufort Sea.

Last summer near Nome, Alaska, fishery biologists noted a huge increase in pink salmon runs in the region’s rivers and streams. A record 1.6 million pink salmon passed by a counting station in the North River. A survey conducted in the mid-1990s in the Barrow area counted 6 king salmon and 51 pink salmon fish. Another survey later in 2003 in the same area there found 439 king salmon and 18,048 pink salmon.

A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers, in the March 10 edition of the journal Science, said shrinking ice, warmer air and water temperatures in the northern Bering Sea are leading to an expansion in pollock, a bottom-feeding fish and in pink salmon, which feed on pollock.

"Local observations indicate that pink salmon are now colonizing rivers that drain into the Arctic Ocean north of Bering Strait," the article says.

For more information on the importance of salmon to the Northwest cultures, see Salmon in Northwest Native Indian Art and Culture.

For artwork, see Northwest Native Indian Art Salmon Carvings.

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