Salmon: Timely reminder to protect this ‘keystone species’

Book review: Mark Kurlansky examines the fascinating and essential role this fish plays in the ecosystem

 US artist Mark Dion at the Hugh Lane Gallery with one of his artworks titled The Salmon of Knowledge Returns. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

US artist Mark Dion at the Hugh Lane Gallery with one of his artworks titled The Salmon of Knowledge Returns. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Mark Kurlansky, who has previously authored compendia on topics including Cod and Salt, here switches focus to chronicle the demise of the storied salmon throughout its wide Pacific and Atlantic ranges.

Apart from a few whimsical meanders into a history of fly-tying and samples of salmon recipes from various cultures, it is a brutal and stark account of the relentless pressures generated by a grand “Manifest Destiny” mentality which accepts the extinction of an ancient icon as a small, hardly accountable cost to achieve the ambitions of hydro power, forestry exploitation, urbanisation, mining, irrigation et al.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.