Friday, September 10, 2010

Potomac River Salmon?

I am currently reading The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America. Great book and hints on how fisheries conservation is well over a hundred years old and we have made little progress.

Last nights reading brought me to a section on decimation of fish populations and how hatchery fish were thought of as the best answer to replenish stocks. Why stop taking millions of pounds of wild fish when you can artificially propagate other fish and replace the ones now gone? Hatchery salmon were brought to the Potomac river from California.

We could have had a fall run of fish up our rivers. Their rotting corpses could cover up the smell of poop along the C&O canal. We could swing flies off the rocks and not have to drive up to the Great Lakes in the fall for the Autumn runs. Just think how much enjoyment would be had by the poachers along our banks.

Yesterday's post was about introduced snakeheads in the Potomac. Turns out most of what we fish for is introduced and there have been attempts for well over a century to create viable populations of non-indigenous fish. Take a read of this FISHES OF THE FRESHWATER POTOMAC Compiled by Jim Cummins, The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Version 11/9/06 which includes all sorts of fish, and this site stating the failed attempt to introduce Atlantic Salmon to the Nation's River.

The author, H. Bruce Franklin cites (and he cites a lot, one of the things I like about this book) Salmon Without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis By Jim Lichatowich, in chapter 6. You can choose from the index and scroll down and read about McCloud River salmon populations migrating via railroad and not river, on a new route to the Potomac. 


I found all of this terribly interesting as people complain about the introduction of snakeheads to our watershed while people have been successfully and unsuccessfully dumping fish into our river for several centuries. 


One thing I will leave you with in regards to a book review, H. Bruce Franklin refers/cites and explains how removing the Menhaden from the oceans is the equivalent to removing the liver from your body. 


Its a great read, available at your local library, and will explain why we call flies bunkers and peanuts. 


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