Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fraser sockeye good news, again

One of my favorite fish stories is back. Fraser River sockeye salmon simply refuse to die.

Fish have a way of keeping us humble. Just try to catch one, or even worse, try to predict what they'll do.

This year the infamous Fraser River (British Columbia) sockeye are causing problems once again. Just as a high-level panel is discussing what caused their collapse, they're doing better. How ironic to autopsy a corpse that stubbornly insists on coming back to life.

Last year's record sockeye run of 34 million fish began the trend. Now this year's 4 million is about equal to the 50-year average, and well above the record low of 1.7 million fish seen in 2009.

Are the problems over? No. But the fish are surprising us by coming home to spawn in good numbers again this year, confounding our attempts to understand them.

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