During annual salmon runs to and from the rivers, the mouths of these tributaries teem with life. Nations of birds, including marbled murrelets, gulls, cormorants, and cranes feed on the salmon. Birds drop remains that nourish tide pool microcosms rich in anemones and starfish. Sea lions, white-sided dolphins, orcas, and sea otters also feast on this crimson flood. At sea, not only ravenous fish, birds, and finned mammals tend the salmon's cycle; this ecosystem includes humans, whose hunger for salmon is satisfied through commercial, traditional, and recreational charter fishing.














Four times a day during the peak of the season, Russian fishermen row to a set-net trap full of salmon near Sakhalin Island to clear it. ©Natalie Fobes
In the glow of twilight, a Quinault Indian tends his gill net stretched partway across the Quinault River on Washington's coast near Cape Elizabeth. ©Natalie Fobes
The outer coast of the Great Bear Rainforest is rich with intertidal life. ©Ian McAllister
Pacific white-sided dolphins often swarm up the inlets of the raincoast in great numbers feeding on salmon. ©Ian McAllister
Gulls are one of many species that thrive when salmon runs are abundant. ©Ian McAllister
Orca whales often follow salmon migrations up raincoast inlets deep into the Coast range. ©Ian McAllister
Carrying on a long-time fishing tradition, Pete Blackwell kisses the first salmon of the season before tossing it back in the water. Old timers claim that this will bring good luck--and good fish--during the fishing season. ©Natalie Fobes
With great care a Miyako processor sorts salmon roe. Roe is highly prized in Japan and fetches more yen per pound than the salmon's flesh. ©Natalie Fobes