The Ultimate Salmon Population Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

In what percentage of streams in California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho where salmon once swarmed are this fish now extinct?

In these states salmon are extinct in nearly 40 percent of the rivers they were known to inhabit. This means at least 106 major stocks of salmon are gone forever.

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What did anglers formerly say about the rivers full of wild salmon?

The rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest used to be so full of wild salmon that anglers would say they could cross the rivers on the fish's backs. Unfortunately, if salmon were the only way to cross the rivers now then the anglers would be out of luck.

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By what percentage did Atlantic salmon catches drop between 1970 and 2000?

Global Atlantic salmon catches fell 80 percent from 1970 to 2000. Experts now state that the Atlantic salmon fishery is considered either fully exploited or depleted, depending on geographic location measured.

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What percentage of the salmon population is endangered in the UK?

According to the WWF, 33 percent of the salmon population is endangered in the United Kingdom. The WWF originally stood for the World Wildlife Fund; however, it is now called the World Wide Fund for Nature to reflect its expanded purpose.

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What is even more troubling about the salmon decline than the loss of the species?

Salmon are considered a keystone species. A keystone species has a critical role in maintaining an ecological community and their impact on the community is great, even though their physical presence is small compared to the whole.

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How many species of predators use salmon as their main source of sustenance?

More than 137 species of predator depend on salmon as their primary source of sustenance. If salmon disappear, the demise of dependent species will not likely be far behind.

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What is perhaps a surprising benefit of having an abundance of salmon population in the waterways, even when they die?

Decomposing salmon carcasses are a significant source of nutrients and fertilizer for trees that line waterways.

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Will salmon still spawn if they cannot reach the spawning grounds where they were hatched?

Salmon have a complicated life cycle that begins in a stream. They migrate to sea for their adult life and finally return to their birthplace before they spawn and die. If they cannot spawn where they originally hatched, they will die without spawning.

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What do researchers call the primary reasons for the decline of salmon populations?

Researchers label the decline with a slogan called the four Hs: harvest, hatchery, habitat and hydropower.

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How many species of salmon are there?

There are only six species of salmon and each is unique, making it hard to classify problems affecting each species. There are five Pacific species of salmon and one Atlantic species.

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What is the first of the four Hs affecting salmon populations?

The first of the four Hs is harvest and refers to the commercial, recreational, and tribal fishing of salmon. It includes fishing while salmon are at sea or as they migrate back upstream. Historically, many governments failed to put appropriate limits on the number of salmon that can be caught each year.

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As an example of harvest problems, what was the quota that Canada placed on Atlantic salmon catches in 1917, when an estimated 8 million salmon were expected to return to their rivers?

The Canadian government allowed a quota on the catch of more than 7.3 million fish. With unrealistic management of salmon populations such as this, it is no wonder we are faced with drastic declines.

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What is one place that is an exception to the allowance of overfishing of salmon by governments?

Overfishing has led to record low levels of salmon in almost all places where they are caught. Alaska is a rare exception, where well-developed management plans give sustainability a high priority.

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Does eating farmed salmon rather than wild-caught salmon help sustain the wild salmon population?

Eating farmed fish encourages harmful practices used by many fish farms that actually endanger wild salmon populations. Look for salmon that are farmed in open sea conditions by farms that avoid using wild-caught fish for feed if you choose to buy farmed fish.

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What is the best label to look for when purchasing salmon?

Marine Certified Species (MCS) salmon is the best label to purchase. By looking for and purchasing an MCS labeled salmon product you are ensuring the fish you eat is derived from a sustainable source.

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Another of the four Hs harming salmon stocks is hatcheries. What problem could hatcheries cause?

Both hatcheries and farms encourage inbreeding that can introduce weaker genes into the wild population, thus lowering chances for survival. Artificial structures are more conducive to parasites and disease, which end up infecting wild salmon populations.

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Is there any correlation between the location of fish hatcheries near wild salmon populations and decreased numbers?

Research shows that situating fish farms near wild salmon populations can cause declines of more than 50 percent in wild salmon. Both harvest and hatchery problems can easily be fixed with proper management and controls.

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What issue in spawning areas can have a devastating consequence on the number of salmon that reproduce?

Habitat degradation can have devastating consequences, because spawning is highly sensitive to increased sedimentation. Logging operations, agricultural practices, trash dumping and oil spills all contribute to poor water quality.

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What happened in the Snake River Basin of Oregon, Washington and Idaho to cause the extinction of Clearwater Coho salmon?

The Clearwater Coho salmon was once abundant in the Snake River Basin. The Clearwater Coho salmon became extinct in the early 1960s largely due to construction of a dam that blocked passage to and from the salmons’ birthing grounds.

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What is a final trend that conservationists believe caused a major blow to salmon populations?

Warmer ocean temperatures cause salmon to migrate further north, thus creating a longer distance for them to travel home. This delays their return to spawning grounds and reduces body size due to the energy required to swim longer distances.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Millions of people throughout the world enjoy the special flavor of salmon, which is considered a delicacy and demands a premium price. However, if we are not careful, this species of fish will disappear forever. Take our quiz on the salmon population and learn more about ways that can help preserve this special fish for future generations.

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