Scientists Link Salmon Boon to Volcanic Eruption

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VANCOUVER — After years of declining numbers, sockeye salmon has made a dramatic — and unprecedented — comeback, which some scientists are attributing to a volcanic eruption in the Gulf of Alaska, CBC News reports.

The boon has been a mystery since experts predicted more than 30-million salmon would swim up B.C.’s Fraser River, a monumental increase from the dismal 1.5 million that made the trek last year.

Tim Parsons, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C, told the CBC the boon may due to the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in the Gulf in 2008, which might have created a more fertile environment. ”When you have an adolescent of any kind [and] you give them lots of food, they have lots of energy, and they build strong bodies,” Parsons told the CBC. “So, we get back, in my hypothesis, 34-million salmon — which was totally unpredicted — instead of the 1.5-million salmon of the previous year, which fed on a diet — which was the normal diet of the Gulf of Alaska — composed of very small plankton.”

Although the increase is cause for celebration, concerned advocates are still demanding an inquiry into the alarmingly low numbers of salmon in recent years, The Vancouver Sun reports. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen told the Sun that, though this year’s numbers are encouraging, the $15-million inquiry is still needed to address new questions about past declines.

 

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