Salmon is not about our differences. It’s about the things we have in common.
Alaska is unique.
It’s one of the last, great places on earth where wild salmon thrive and return year after year. For Alaskans, salmon are more than just a fish. They are our way of life, our heritage and the lifeblood of our economy.
Our individual connections to salmon are diverse and varied, but everywhere across our state salmon is part of how we nourish our families, honor our culture, and spend time with our friends and family. Our connections to salmon unite us.
Through more than seven years of talking with people across the state, we learned firsthand that the majority of us believe that thriving wild salmon are vital for our state and a priority for how we want to live. We know that 90% of Alaskans feel that wild salmon are linked to important Alaskan values, and that three-quarters of Alaskans have a personal connection to the wild salmon resource.
We’re fortunate to still have an abundance of salmon here in Alaska. Wild salmon have been lost almost everywhere else, so it falls upon our shoulders to do things in a different way, in an Alaskan way.
There are no simple answers for how to ensure that salmon will remain a plentiful resource for future generations. Wild salmon and the powerful Alaskan landscape that supports them risk the “death by 1,000 cuts” described by David Montgomery in his book King of Fish: The Thousand Year Run of Salmon. We also know how fast the salmon conversation can turn to argument. But through The Salmon Project we learned that the conflicts around salmon obscure something much more powerful—the commitment we as Alaskans have to a salmon way of life.