California: "Salmon Boat Cemetery"

September 30, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

In October’s Smithsonian magazine, Abigail Tucker writes about the decline of California king salmon, which depends almost entirely on the Sacramento River and adjoining delta for its survival, mentioning that some wine lovers can trace elements of their favored beverage to these remarkable fish. “The kings’ spawned-out carcasses nourish not only the baby salmon that will take their place but also living things up and down the food chain, stimulating whole ecosystems. Salmon-rich streams support faster-growing trees and attract apex predators like bears and eagles. In certain California vineyards, compounds traceable to salmon can be found in zinfandel grapes.”
But the best part of this article is the its discussion of our growing dependence on hatcheries to sustain “wild” fish populations — a temporary, and some say damaging, band-aid — and the bleak picture drawn of the future of salmon consumption. To summarize: We need to forget about wine and develop a taste for cold canned fish.