commented on Why Is Herring So Hard to Find?
In one of those "wheels within wheels" ecology moments, my bio prof explained a big part of what happened to the NW salmon stocks, and it has a lot to do with herring. It seems that the whole of our coastline, from Mexico to Alaska, used to have huge kelp beds - bull kelp.
The kelp forests were where baby herring went after they hatched, to hide from predators, feed and grow. Eventually they would mature a bit and venture out from the kelp by the billions, only to be eaten by the salmon.
Along comes the white man, who took a hankering to sea otter pelts, and the supply of sea otters was soon depleted. Sea otters eat sea urchins. Sea urchins eat the roots of bull kelp. Without sea otters to keep the sea urchins in check, the huge mats of kelp that once blanketed our coasts disappeared, as did the nursery for the herring.
No herring, no food for salmon. And, apparently, no food for people who like to eat herring either.