• Open Access

Salmon for terrestrial protected areas


  • Editor
    Justin Brashares

Chris T. Darimont, Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, 405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. Tel: (831) 459 2634; fax: (831) 459 4015. E-mail: darimont@ucsc.edu


Although managers safeguard protected areas for migratory species, little consideration has been given to how migratory species might benefit parks. Additionally, whereas land-sea connections are considered in management of protected areas, most effort has focused on reducing negative “downstream” processes. Here, we offer a proposal to promote positive “upstream” processes by safeguarding the seasonal pulse of marine nutrients imported into freshwater and riparian ecosystems by spawning migrations of Pacific salmon. Currently, high rates of fishing limit this important contribution to species and processes that terrestrial parks were designed to protect. Accordingly, we propose limiting exploitation in areas and periods through which salmon runs bound for terrestrial protected areas can migrate. Best suited for less commercially valuable but relatively abundant and widespread pink and chum salmon (O. gorbuscha and keta), our proposal thus considers ecosystem and societal needs for salmon. We conclude by outlining strategies to overcome socio-economic barriers to implementation.