This year when the salmon returned to the Frasier River in British Columbia, an unexpected number showed up. A whopping 34 estimated salmon returned this year as opposed to the previous years number of 1.5 million salmon. This large boom of salmon is thought to be connected to a natural event back in 2008.
A volcanic eruption in 2008 is thought to be the answer to the recent boom in salmon. A lot of the volcanic ash from the Kasatochi volcano eruption in 2008 deposited in the Gulf of Alaska and fertilized the water. This allowed a certain phytoplankton called diatoms to grow rapidly and and larger than usual. These diatoms are a more unusual food source for the fish, but they provide and great amount of nutrients needed for the growth of adolescent salmon. With the boom in the diatoms, it allowed the salmon to feast on the nutrient rich diatoms and stay healthy.
We didnt see the massive increase of returning fish in 2009 because the fish were still young adolescents and only the older salmon returned to the spawning grounds. This year was when the results were noticed. The large phytoplankton bloom was viewed by a satellite image of the area. A recent study of fertilizing water in British Columbia led to similar results seen in the Frasier river. The fertilized water leads to a growth in plankton and in time results in a large increase in salmon. In this study it led to an increase in salmon by 7 fold. The conclusion of the study was that they salmon depend on a dense phytoplankton if they are to grow big and in large numbers. Studies like this one can be done to help predict populations of salmon in the future when certain natural events happen like volcanic eruptions. Knowing the populations of salmon will be able to help salmon fisheries managers.
I had no idea that events like this happened. I didnt know it was possible for ash to fertilize a body of water, i thought it would do harm to it, not good. It is interesting how large the spike was in the salmon population due to the Kasatochi eruption. With the knowledge in what makes an increase in salmon population, i am curious to see what fisheries do with it. There is potential for the business to be a very good one to be into. It could also mean that the price for the fish may decrease with a much larger population of the salmon. What ever the case maybe for the future, with 34 million salmon spawning at once, the next few years in the Frasier river are going to be filled with salmon traffic.