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- - Environmental Science Wednesday February 26 1997 Chinook Salmon Among the many kinds of fish harvested each year by commercial fisheries is the Oncorhynchus tshawytscha or Chinook salmon The United States catches an averages of about three hundred million pounds of salmon each year However some Chinook salmon have been recently listed as threatened Man has been the main cause for the decline in Chinook salmon populations The populations of Chinook salmon have declined for several reasons Hydropower and its destructiveness to the environment pollution and overfishing are the three main causes for the decline The Chinook salmon is known for traveling the greatest distance back to its spawning grounds often traveling one to two thousand miles inland This long journey is now often interrupted by hydroelectric plants Hydropower is a very good alternative resource for power however it is very damaging to our salmon populations The dams block off rivers which block the salmons path back to their breeding grounds The salmon go back to the same areas just as their ancestors did to lay their eggs The hydropower plants turbines are also very dangerous to young salmon Many of them are killed by the giant turbines on their way back to the ocean Killing off many of the salmons new generation Pollution is also a killer of many Chinook salmon Pollution caused by sewage farming grazing logging and mining find its way into our waters These harmful substances kill many species of fish and other marine life The Chinook salmon is no exception The chemicals are dumped into the rivers and streams and eventually these chemicals find their way to the ocean polluting and effecting each area they pass through The largest contributor to the decline in the Chinook salmon population is the commercial fishing industry From a period of 1990-1992 815000 Chinook salmon were caught by commercial fisheries This does not include the 354000 recreational catches Commercial fishing is a big
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