Stunning Photography Of The Role Played In Nature, By The Life And Death Of Salmon In Alaska [Video]

Once they enter fresh water the salmon stop feeding and morph into an aggressive creature intent only on mating. After spawning, they die and their bodies become a source of nutrients for everything in the forest and sea.

Alaska did not always have healthy stocks of salmon. The salmon catch grew rapidly with the expansion of the cannery capacity through 1920. This led to over fishing, which resulted in such low salmon stocks that President Eisenhower declared Alaska a federal disaster area in 1953. In fact, in 1959, statewide harvests totaled only about 25 million salmon, which is less than 20% of current sustained production.

This was a major factor in the declines of the Alaska salmon fishery that occurred between 1920 and 1959. Alaska achieved statehood in the year of 1959. After analysis, it was clear that the reason for the decline was the lack of implementation of the federal policies in place before statehood. Furthermore, the Federal government failed to provide the financial resources needed to manage and research salmon stocks and fisheries such that fishing could be regulated and depressed stocks could be rehabilitated.

The decline was temporarily arrested after Alaska became a state and instituted new conservation measures. However, the inexorable entry of more technological fishing gear coincided with further decline to record low levels in 1972. This decline helped promote the enclosure of the salmon fishery in 1973 under a limited entry permit system. Since then the catch has rebounded to near-record levels due to Alaska’s salmon management.

Film Details:

Shot over the course of three weeks with a Canon 5d and a GoPro camera.

Sound: Richard Nelson, Hank Lentfer, Riley Woodford and Henk Meeuwsen

Music: Smetana – Má Vlast (The Moldau) and Górecki – Symphony No. 3: Il Lento E Largo

[More Information: Paul Klaver on Vimeo; Paul Klaver ; Alaska Salmon ]

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