Synopses & Reviews
"Fundamentally, the salmon's decline has been the consequence of a vision
based on flawed assumptions and unchallenged myths.... We assumed we could
control the biological productivity of salmon and 'improve' upon natural
processes that we didn't even try to understand. We assumed we could have
salmon without rivers."
-from the introduction
From a mountain top where an eagle carries a salmon carcass to feed its
young to the distant oceanic waters of the California current and the
Alaskan Gyre, salmon have penetrated the Northwest to an extent unmatched
by any other animal. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the natural
productivity of salmon in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho has
declined by eighty percent. The decline of Pacific salmon to the brink of
extinction is a clear sign of serious problems in the region.
In Salmon Without Rivers, fisheries biologist Jim Lichatowich offers an
eye-opening look at the roots and evolution of the salmon crisis in the
Pacific Northwest. He describes the multitude of factors over the past century and a half that have led to the salmon's decline, and examines in
depth the abject failure of restoration efforts that have focused almost
exclusively on hatcheries to return salmon stocks to healthy levels without
addressing the underlying causes of the decline.
- describes the evolutionary history of the salmon along with the
geologic history of the Pacific Northwest over the past 40 million years
- considers the indigenous cultures of the region, and the emergence
of salmon-based economies that survived for thousands of years
- examines the rapid transformation of the region following the
arrival of Europeans
- presents the history of efforts to protect and restore the salmon
- offers a critical assessment of why restoration efforts have failed.
Throughout, Lichatowich argues that the dominant worldview of our society-a
worldview that denies connections between humans and the natural world-has created the conflict and controversy that characterize the recent history
of salmon; unless that worldview is challenged and changed, there is little
hope for recovery.
Salmon Without Rivers exposes the myths that have guided recent
human-salmon interactions. It clearly explains the difficult choices facing
the citizens of the region, and provides unique insight into one of the
most tragic chapters in our nation's environmental history.
"Lichatowich provides a critical perspective on salmon hatchery successes and failures, and his book of captivating stories provides a fascinating, readable, and chilling wake-up call to how humans have mismanaged their natural heritage."
This look at the roots and evolution of the salmon crisis in the Pacific Northwest describes the factors of the past 150 years that have led to the salmon's decline, and examines in depth the failure of restoration efforts. Includes appendixes, tables, and figures. Photos.
About the Author
Jim Lichatowich has been a fisheries scientist for twenty-nine years, working for most of that time in salmon management and research in Oregon and Washington. He is a member of three independent teams of scientists investigating the salmon crisis, and has written numerous scientific and technical papers on the history, current status, and future prospects of salmon. His essays have appeared in a variety of publications including Trout magazine, Peninsula magazine, Riverkeeper, and Shirkin Comment.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Hooknose
Chapter 2. The Five Houses Of Salmon
Chapter 3. New Values For The Land And Water
Chapter 4. The Industrial Economy Enters The Northwest
Chapter 5. Free Wealth
Chapter 6. Cultivate The Waters
Chapter 7. The Winds Of Change
Chapter 8. A Story Of Two Rivers
Chapter 9. The Road To Extinction
Epilogue: Building A New Salmon Culture
Appendix A: Classification Of Anadromous Forms Of Salmon
Appendix B: Comparison Of The Life Histories Of Seven Species Of Pacific Salmon And Trout
Appendix C: Geologic Epochs Mentioned In The Text