King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon
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King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The salmon that symbolize the Pacific Northwest's natural splendor are now threatened with extinction across much of their ancestral range. In studying the natural and human forces that shape the rivers and mountains of that region, geologist David Montgomery has learned to see the evolution and near-extinction of the salmon as a story of changing landscapes. Montgomery sh...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 29th 2004 by Basic Books (first published October 8th 2003)
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Salmon was once one of the commonest fishes in Europe, swarming up the Thames and the rivers of Gaul in Roman times. Laws to protect the fish date to 13th and 14th century England and Scotland: establishing the fishing season, and regulating the weirs. However, the Industrial Revolution brought about industrial pollution, and modern times brought trawlers catching the fish in massive numbers near Greenland, which caused European salmon to almost go extinct; only Norway, Ireland, Iceland and Scot...more
This book goes through how salmon runs have collapsed in England, Germany, France, Japan, New England/Nova Scotia and the current collapse in the Pacific Northwest.

What I did not know was that the incredible runs that used to exist in the Pacific Northwest also used to exist in each of those other nations. In each case, the nations knew what they needed to do to save their runs and failed to do so. Before reading this book, I had a lot more faith in the idea that we know so much more than we di...more
John Boettner
As an Aquatic Scientist I found this book to be a great read. Written by a geologist, this book provides alternate perspectives into the workings of freshwater systems with an historical outlook going back to the time of the Romans (indeed there is evidence that our ancestors from 9,000 years ago (Kennewick Man) consumed salmon).

This book also provides a look into the miraculous qualities of salmon as a resource that allow the population to withstand such environmental calamities as the Mt Sain...more
This is a really thoughtful and well-researched book. I had no idea that salmon (which are so iconic to the Pacific Northwest) were once also plentiful throughout most of Western Europe, Asia, and the East Coast. It provides a very useful historical perspective of land use and how human activities have affected salmon throughout the ages.
This book made me afraid of eating any fish, especially salmon. I was very happy when he got to the chapter discussing Alaska, which said that the Alaska salmon fisheries are well-managed and doing fine. Sweet! I can go dip netting again this summer!
Easy to read history of salmon conservation in the PNW. Glossed over tribal rights for the most part. Was required reading for a class.
A bit dry unless you are REALLY into the history of fish, and rocks, and the ocean - sort of. Salmon geeks will love it.
Excellent read even for someone like me raised on salmon stories since I was in kindergarten; our town had an annual parade in honor of salmon after all! I recieved an whole new perspective on what is causing the collapse of the salmon runs, what approaches have been tried and failed in England and France(who knew they had salmon there at one time?!) and what options we have to prevent a similar fate here. Excellent!
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