The King Salmon

This is very depressing:

The Chinook salmon that swim upstream to spawn in the fall, the most robust run in the Sacramento River, have disappeared. The almost complete collapse of the richest and most dependable source of Chinook salmon south of Alaska left gloomy fisheries experts struggling for reliable explanations -- and coming up dry.

Whatever the cause, there was widespread agreement among those attending a five-day meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council here last week that the regional $150 million fishery, which usually opens for the four-month season on May 1, is almost certain to remain closed this year from northern Oregon to the Mexican border. A final decision on salmon fishing in the area is expected next month.

As a result, Chinook, or king salmon, the most prized species of Pacific wild salmon, will be hard to come by until the Alaskan season opens in July. Even then, wild Chinook are likely to be very expensive in markets and restaurants nationwide.

One of my favorite Stanley Kunitz poems is about the heroic migration of wild Salmon:

If the water were clear enough,
if the water were still,
but the water is not clear,
the water is not still,
you would see yourself,
slipped out of your skin,
nosing upstream,
slapping, thrashing,
tumbling
over the rocks
till you paint them
with your belly's blood:
Finned Ego,
yard of muscle that coils,
uncoils.
If the knowledge were given you,
but it is not given,
for the membrane is clouded
with self-deceptions
and the iridescent image swims
through a mirror that flows,
you would surprise yourself
in that other flesh
heavy with milt,
bruised, battering toward the dam
that lips the orgiastic pool.

Come. Bathe in these waters.
Increase and die.

More like this

tags: salmon, wild Pacific salmon, commercial salmon fishing Approximately 200 chefs from restaurants in 33 states have signed a letter that was delivered to legislators in Washington DC today, asking Congress to pass laws that will restore healthy habitats for the decimated wild salmon species…
I was raised on Costco farmed salmon, those mealy slabs of pinkish fish protein. My first bite of wild salmon was a revelation. It was a different species of taste, so rich and oily and strong. You could practically taste the swim upstream. So I was interested in this WSJ article on the billions of…
Suddenly it's salmon everywhere -- or in some cases, nowhere. My story on "The Wild Salmon Debate: A Fresh Look at Whether Eating Farmed Salmon is ... Well ... OK," was published a couple weeks ago in Eating Well. You can see the Eating Well web version here or download a pdf here. The story…
I'm hitting on something deeply twisted this week. It's called homespring. Homespring is interesting for two reasons. First, it's got a sort of reverse flavor to it: it consists of active agents in a passive structure. So, for example, you can't do anything like control flow - that's a dynamic…