Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Fisheries Crisis

Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Fisheries Crisis

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Overview

In the past 20 years the Pacific Northwest has invested billions of dollars to save salmon runs, and the only thing everyone can agree upon is that the effort has largely failed. Scientists, historians, politicians, and journalists have offered many explanations for this "salmon crisis, " but few have looked very far into the past or plumbed primary material necessary to understand the 19th-century roots of salmon management. The purpose of Making Salmon is to subvert the way people have thought about salmon management for the last 125 years. It examines documents from the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, and regional archives to illuminate the social, cultural, economic, and environmental context of the decline of salmon from the aboriginal fisheries through the advent of industrial fishing and the rise of salmon hatcheries all the way down to the current crisis of the salmon fisheries as they face the threat of collapse today.

As recent scientific research suggests that, hatcheries may have contributed to the decline of salmon runs, Taylor relates in detail how and why fish culture emerged as the primary tool of salmon management. The Oregon experience with fish culture serves as a long-term case study of the intersection of federal, state, and private management strategies and interpretations and misinterpretations of salmon biology.

The essence of the salmon crisis is the struggle to define and solve a complicated environmental and social problem, but resolution has been elusive because participants have little in common except the propensity to deflect blame onto other groups or activities. Commercial and sport fishers, fish culturalists, environmentalists,smelters, irrigators, bargers, and dam agencies have all responded to declining runs in different ways. The preferred political and technological strategies have perpetuated, rather than resolved, problems. The detailed history of those efforts offered in Making Salmon should remind readers of the complexity of the forces driving decline. It should also caution readers against uncritical faith in technology and temper the tendency to moralize and scapegoat.

Making Salmon is of critical importance for everyone interested in understanding the origins of and finding a solution for the current environmental crisis in the Pacific Northwest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780295978406
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books Series
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joseph E. Taylor III is assistant professor of history at Iowa State University. An environmental historian specializing in fisheries, he has also worked in the commercial fisheries of the northeast Pacific and Bering Sea.Winner of the George Perkins Marsh Award, American Society for Environmental History

Table of Contents

List of Mapsvii
Foreword: Speaking for Salmonix
Acknowledgmentsxiii
Introduction: A Durable Crisis3
1Dependence, Respect, and Moderation13
2Historicizing Overfishing39
3Inventing a Panacea68
4Making Salmon99
5Taking Salmon133
6Urban Salmon166
7Remaking Salmon203
8Taking Responsibility237
Citation Abbreviations259
Notes263
Bibliographic Essay379
Index411

What People are Saying About This

Richard White

Making Salmon is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the salmon crisis began and as a caution to those who think there are easy ways to get out of it.

William Cronon

Taylor's purpose is to help us understand just how hard it is to grapple with ecological problems that are also intensely cultural and political and economic. . . . By showing us how complicated the human history of salmon has been in the past, Taylor assembles the essential tools we need for thinking more clearly about its future.

From the Publisher

"Taylor's purpose is to help us understand just how hard it is to grapple with ecological problems that are also intensely cultural and political and economic. . . . By showing us how complicated the human history of salmon has been in the past, Taylor assembles the essential tools we need for thinking more clearly about its future."—William Cronon, from the Foreword

"Making Salmon is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the salmon crisis began and as a caution to those who think there are easy ways to get out of it."—Richard White, Stanford University

"Exhaustively researched and written in clear and graceful prose, Making Salmon . . . will prove to be the definitive study of its subject until well into the twenty-first century."—William G. Robbins, Oregon State University

William G. Robbins

Exhaustively researched and written in clear and graceful prose, Making Salmon . . . will prove to be the definitive study of its subject until well into the twenty-first century.

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