Desperately seeking chum salmon returns

The Squamish, Mamquam, Cheakamus and Elaho rivers sustain four varieties of Pacific salmon: coho, chinook, pink and chum. The latter is popular for smoking and canning. Chum flesh and eggs are often exported, primarily to Asia, while domestic uses include animal food and bait. Regarding value on the market, chum are perhaps the least desirable salmon, but their role in the environment—including sustaining other types of salmon as well as mammals and even vegetation—make them a harbinger of environmental health or crisis. “They make the whole ecosystem tick,” said Dave Brown, chair of the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable and vice-chair of the Squamish Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee. “They ask very little of the resource.” While other salmon may remain in the river for two to three years, relying on the largesse of the river ecosystem for sustenance as they grow, chum migrate to the ocean as fry, just an inch or two in length. >click to read<13:41

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