According to researchers, it seems Alaska salmon are getting smaller as time marches on. And it’s believed the cause is related to the effects of climate change.
This is actually just the latest impact to the animal kingdom. Between the Australian fires of 2019, rising sea levels wiping out smaller islands, and premafrost melting in Russia, the dominoes are falling.
What’s Causing Alaska Salmon to Decline?
In a nut shell, the decline has to do with how salmon migrate. They spend quite a bit of time in the oceans eating their fill before heading back to freshwater.
During that time in the sea, they often grow much larger before heading back. According to the salmon study, the fish just aren’t spending as much time in the ocean.
This is because of various ocean climates affecting fish behavoir, such as overall temperature of the water.
The warmer the planet gets, the warmer the water gets. And this causes fish of all kinds to change migration patterns, which contributes to food supply for other species.
How Big is the Change?
The size differences of the Alaska salmon vary on species, but it’s still relatively close across the board.
- Sockeye salmon lost 2.1%
- Chum salmon lost 2.4%
- Coho salmon lost 3.3%
- And the Chinook salmon lost a whopping 8% of body length
Now, these may not sound like life-altering percentages. But, these decreases happened since 2010. So, if you had a restaurant and wanted to buy 100 pounds of salmon, it would take more fish to fulfill that order.
Now, consider how the fishing industry is worth billions, and salmon being one of the biggest exports for Alaska.
If this keeps up, costs will increase. Especially since the populations are decreasing as well. For instance, areas once full of Chinook salmon saw a decrease of 10% on average.
It’s Only a Matter of Time
At the moment, markets aren’t really in an upheaval from the loss of body mass of the Alaska salmon. But, it’s only a matter of time before prices start going up.
Keep in mind that commercial fishing provides more than 1.2 million jobs and brings in $144+ billion in sales. As more species begin to decline on a global scale, this could impact the economy in profound ways.
So you see, it’s financially practical to want to live a more green lifestyle. Although a lot of damage being done right now is irreversible, there are lots of things we can do as humans to prevent the continued damage.
I just hope I can afford to have some salmon before the oceans heat up to the point where they become extinct. A plankton-based substitute dyed pink and in the shape of a fish doesn’t sound appealing.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.