Source: D4K: “Fish"
Visit the D4K companion Web site to learn more about Salmon Research: D4K: “Fish"
This video segment from IdahoPTV's D4K shows the life cycle of the endangered Chinook Salmon of the Pacific Northwest. We hear how the research of a fisheries biologist might help manage populations of the fish.
[CHILD] Whoa! Why are we catching these!
[MR. PATTERSON] Because there's not very many of them left in this river. Do you know what we call a species when their populations get extremely low?
[CHILD] You mean when there's too few of them? Endangered?
[MR. PATTERSON] That's right. This is a schnook salmon and they're endangered here. When this fish was just a kid like you it lived in this stream and it was only this long. Then it swam all the way to the ocean.
[CHILD] All the way to the ocean? How far is that?
[MAN] 900 miles.
[MR. PATTERSON] That's right. It would be like driving from Chicago to New Orleans or from Seattle to San Francisco. Do you think you could swim that far?
[CHILD] No way!
[Whoa, that was cool}
[MR. PATTERSON] And after about three years they swim all the way back, here to the same stream where they started as eggs.
[CHILD] How did they find their way home?
[MR. PATTERSON] In fact they smell their way back.
[MAN] Come on, how do you know that?
[MR. PATTERSON] Research! We study salmon so we can make good decisions on how to manage them to get more fish back. Let me show you some of the research we're doing right here. Here's one thing we do with these salmon. We check to see if they have a passive, integrated transponder or pit tag.
[CHILD] A what?
[MR. PATTERSON] A pit tag. Remember how i told you about the salmon starting here as little kids? Well we actually call them smolts. A tiny computer chip is inserted under their skin. With that computer chip we can determine what the journey to and from the ocean was like and what may have happened to them along the way.
[CHILD] So does this fish have a pit tag?
[MR. PATTERSON] Let's check. Yup. Okay, let's put him back into the river.
[CHILD] Will all this research save salmon from being endangered?
[MR. PATTERSON] We don't know. There are a lot of other factors involved but without research we wouldn't begin to know how to save the salmon One thing we do know is that this river has the carrying capacity to hold a lot more of these fish. Well, back to work for me.
[CHILDREN] Goodbye Mr. Patterson. Thank you.
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