Report: Salmon now spawning in the Arctic Ocean watershed

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Could salmon be considered an invasive species as they expand their habitat in the north?

Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks have confirmed the presence of salmon spawning in an Arctic Ocean watershed, shedding light on the notion that certain salmon species are adapting and expanding into new territories as climate change gives them new opportunities.

The scientists found approximately 100 chum salmon in the Anaktuvuk and Itkillik rivers on Alaska’s North Slope. Both rivers flow into the Colville River, which empties into the Arctic Ocean.

The fish that researchers caught in mid-September were either actively spawning or had finished spawning at sites where groundwater appeared to be flowing to the surface, they observed.

The study, led by UAF researcher Peter Westley, noted that the discovery aligns with the hypothesis that salmon are gradually migrating northward as their traditional habitats undergo significant transformations due to climate change. Across many parts of their traditional range, salmon populations have been dwindling due to the warming temperatures. In the Arctic, climate change might paradoxically be creating a more favorable environment for these resilient fish.

“Throughout most parts of the salmon’s range, things have gotten too warm, and they’re starting to blink off,” said Westley, who is an associate professor at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. “In the Arctic, the water is getting warm enough, and they’re starting to blink on.”

In December 2022, Alaska Sea Grant hosted a workshop that convened scientists, indigenous fishermen, and community members who came together in Anchorage to discuss the more frequent sightings of salmon in the Arctic Ocean and their potential origins. This gathering of experts played a crucial role in shaping the objectives of the subsequent research, paving the way for the groundbreaking discovery.

This newfound phenomenon suggests salmon they may possess an unexpected resilience to a changing climate. As they adapt to the shifting climate conditions, the Arctic may become a new stronghold for these fish.

Read more about this finding at this UAF link.

76 COMMENTS

      • Yes, as it must be in order to make the huge, meaningful changes required to avert its dire consequences.

        • Many believe the Creator has not abandoned this valuable planet and has been maintaining it from inception to date. It helps me to know this is the case. The scriptures state He created it to be inhabited. That it is His purpose for the earth remain inhabited.

    • The silly Chicken Little emergency certainly is. Is expanding salmon range going to be the end of the world?

      • Well, Reggie, if you live in one of Alaska’s coastal villages, it just might be when you see your house float out to sea. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t face up to it.

        • God is still on His throne. He hung the earth on nothing, maintains it in perpetuity because His purpose is for it to be inhabited by His children. We are objects of His constant love and care. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…” John 6:37

    • Climate is changing, as it always has dog.
      Did humans cause the change?
      Did they cause the change that happened before the Industrial revolution? (there was change then)

      Try to keep up.

      • The rise of global temperatures correlates exactly with the start of the Industrial Revolution, when CO2 liberated by mankind’s activities began pouring into the atmosphere. Higher temps and higher CO2 levels in the past have also occurred, true, but then the world did not have 8.1 billion people, many of whom live in close proximity to the coastlines.

        It’s an inconvenient fact, but it is a fact indeed. Deal with it, and try to reduce your carbon footprint. Your grandchildren will thank you.

        • No it doesn’t. CO2 lags temperature changes. Not vice versa.

          The reason is found in the oceans. The oceans store co2. When ocean temperatures rise, co2 is released into the atmosphere.

        • Yup, Climate changes – we are a tiny part in a dynamic (planetary and solar-system) environment. Here’s another view: Use Google to search for

          global temperature graph 100000 years

          Look at the first two results. Honestly consider how many internal combustion engines were whirring away spewing CO2 during the time covered by the articles, then look at the graphs. Spoiler: The graphs depict several peer-reviewed models for determining temperatures from ice cores and other scientific methods.

        • The Industrial Revolution also correlates exactly with the end of the Little Ice Age. Using the lowest temperatures in the last millenia as a starting point sure helps make the graph look different than if you were to start the graph at any other time.

          Some facts are more inconvenient than others.

        • Whidbey, if YOU want to reduce your (so-called) “carbon footprint”, I will be more than happy to chip in for your immediate mortuary expenses.

          Be the change you wish to see!

    • The hoax isn’t climate change. The hoax is anthropogenic climate change than can only be fixed by destroying our way of life through massive intervention that places a huge financial burden on the average person and will decrease our standard of living immensely. Intervention that will accomplish nothing positive, but will alter our lives for the worse forever.

  1. A NOAA scientist told me about 15 years ago that Quinhagak fisheries will move north to the Seward Pennisula as long as the water temp in the Bering Sea keeps rising.

      • It might if they refuse to eat a new food source like a radical environmentalist refusing to accept their Darwinist religion because Owl Gore told them to.

      • Well, since their population is not declining, I suspect it won’t have much effect on it, their numbers have increased from 23,000 in 1980 to 26,000 from 1995 to 2015 to 29,000

    • How did the climate change before the Industrial Revolution? The climate did change then.
      There were 1 billion people sailing, rowing, walking & using horses, yet things got warmer & colder prior to 1800.
      Is it people driven or the earth evolving (so to speak)
      There is only one thing guaranteed in this world, and that is change (death?)
      Things will change, despite all human efforts to keep them “the same”

    • VC, Anthropogenic Climate Change is a hoax, climate however does change and often.
      I’m curious if there were Chum Salmon in Arctic Ocean tributaries back in 900 a.d.
      The world warmed drastically for a couple hundred years, it’s called the Medeviel Anomaly sometimes. During this period wine was being produced in York and the Norsemen founded colonies on Greenland on their way to Petersburg while the French were dealing with civil unrest because the bottom fell out of their wine market causing an economic calamity. The party ended around the year 1200 as something called the ” little ice age” showed up. But then the all that was prior to the politicalization of weather and Albert Gore Jr.

      • I’m old enough to remember the first Earth Day and how we had to act now to prevent the next ice age.

        Since the late 80s we’ve been on how many “10 years to save the Earth” counts. At least 4.

        They only went to “climate change” when the decade til death stopped being taken seriously.

  2. Climate is undergoing constant change. That’s not even in contention. What’s contentious is the cause. The simpleminded can’t distinguish between cause and effect so whenever anything pops up in the news that has any possibility of being connected to global climate change they eagerly jump on the Chicken Little bandwagon to gloat and, usually, demand that the rest of us destroy our standard of living to make them feel safe again. Call these misguided fools out every chance you get before they Green Energy us all back to the Stone Age.

    • “Climate is undergoing constant change. That’s not even in contention. What’s contentious is the cause.”…
      So True Sir, Thanks for illuminating the truth above. The absolute facts come from long-term historic climate data AND empirical observations from ice cores, geologic-morphological evidence, field studies and common sense. Here it is folks…The Sun gets Hot, the Earth gets Hot…The Sun gets cold, the Earth gets Cold, that simple. I was a fisheries biologist on the North Slope for many years studying the Seawater Treatment Plants and surrounding ocean for the Oil Industry. It was known that King Salmon would venture into the Sagavanirktok River each summer, along with other salmon species caught or observed periodically.

  3. Salmon are known to stray, it’s a part of their biology and a reason we see them throughout a large part of Alaska. When the world went through massive climate change 10,000-12,000 years ago salmon began to colonize new areas. They did this before the last glaciation as well and they will die off when the next glaciation event happens. Just like other species will adapt, evolve, and survive…or they will die but salmon appear to be a very adaptable species in all the ranges they cover.

  4. Climate, guns, sex, thought, speech, race. You name it, the left wants to control it and monetize it. These people make Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Edie Amin look like Mother Theresa. GOD is not pleased with them or us.

    • Hypocrite. Here’s what the Right wants to control: freedom to access books, freedom to use birth control, freedom for a woman to make her own choices, freedom to be LGBT, freedom for gays to marry, freedom from religion.

      Extremist: you equated some 33.5 million deaths with the Left’s interest in reducing gun-related deaths.

      You aren’t a serious thinker.

      • Explain how there are Homosexuals who are Republicans and or conservatives. Explain why there is a growing movement Gays against groomers. The Republican Party isn’t a Christian religious party, it’s a type of governance ideology.

  5. The incredible sophistication of Nature using the Principle of Adaptation to survive. This is a universal concept in life sciences. Climate change activists have been pushing the panic button to advance political agendas. While humans use wrong-headed approaches to resolve difficult situations, Nature moves along at irs own pace, and in it’s own way, to move forward. Fish aren’t so dumb. It’s the humans that try directing the traffic of life that need an intellectual tune-up.

    • Well, CrissyB, the Earth will survive, but I’m just as concerned for the humans that populate it. Yes, even Conservatives.

      • Concerned for? No. You’re not. Or you wouldn’t religiously advocate for the litany of lies you so vehemently vomit out all the time in support of the real danger to everyone: yours and your ilk’s mindset. When C.S. Lewis penned the following he was presciently writing about you:
        “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

  6. Are “indigenous fishermen” like indigenous fish?
    Fish, like people, find new, better habitat, where they did not exist before.
    As a description, calling any human in North America “indigenous” is like calling the covid jab a “vaccine.”
    Just back from the Hawaiian islands where every species is invasive and the humans have a harder time calling themselves “indigenous.”

  7. Not one word about the magnetic pole shift that has been in progress for a couple of decades. The north magnetic pole is on its way to Siberia and hasn’t been in eastern Canada for a couple of decades. Yet not one word in the mainline media because we have no idea what a polar shift means for the climate. We could be getting all kinds of data from everyone, including how this affects the fish migrations. Since salmon also appear to rely on magnetic pulses to get back to their spawning grounds, might this polar shift have something to do with it? As for the climate, it has been changing, as Marlin Savage stated, since day one.

  8. The climatistas have adopted an all change is evil and mankind’s fault worldview. As the water warms a bit, salmon will move into new habitats and we are treated to the latest demand for immediate government action to control it. As it cools a bit, they quit the newfound spawning grounds and we are treated once again to the same demands, for the same reason though the direction is different. Same scam. Same players. Same demands. Yet the fish and the planet keep doing what they have always done. Cheers –

  9. I don’t know if this is such a dramatic find. When I used to travel to Anatuvuk pass and even Kaktovik, the natives would talk about catching salmon and arctic char in their nets then and that was back in the 1980’s, through 2000.

  10. Since the Dinosaur age billions/millions of years adaption/modification or extinction is the way of this earth. I am doubtful of us having such a major impact on this earth we change the climate. That’s like saying we are gods. I am thinking this earth -Earth Science- this earth goes through thousand year to million years transitions and cycles. We don’t get to live that long to see what people seen before us.

  11. Maybe that’s were all the Kusko and Yukon salmon are all going North. The tribal leaders who say the state need to manage some fishery sights better, maybe the the desired salmon will never return even with what is called better management cause the kings are swimming north and west. So the villagers will have to adapt and move where the salmon go.

    • The beauty of any postmodernism based political philosophy is that objective reality doesn’t exist. So life evolves the way we say it does, and if it’s not actually that way in reality (hint: it never is) then that particular slice of reality isn’t true because we say it isn’t., and that makes what we say actually true. Wonderful anti-logic, isn’t it? It is all quite mad. Carroll wrote it best:

      “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
      ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
      ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

  12. This isn’t the first time these things have happened and it won’t be the last either. The world has experienced periods of heavy glaciation interspersed with periods of warming. Look up the Medieval Warming Period and then the Little Ice Age. That all occurred within the last 1500 years. Now compare the temperatures from those periods to what we are seeing now. Form your own opinions. While you’re at it check this out.

    ‘https://www.wnd.com/2023/10/bad-news-biden-economy-predicted-produce-another-great-depression/

    THAT’s the big threat right now, that and maybe getting nuked because of the incompetence of “Plugs” Biden and Company.

  13. This isnt new.

    “As far back as the Point Barrow Expedition of 1881–83, ethnographer John Murdoch noted the presence of pink and sockeye salmon in Elson Lagoon, and an 1883 report from the Revenue-Steamer Corwin documented pink salmon in the Colville River farther east along the arctic coast.”

    ‘https://medium.com/@aksalmonworld/arctic-salmon-ce22f21208ce

  14. Life adjusts. its part of being alive. reacting to conditions was part of the definition of alive I was taught in biology class

  15. Interesting read at nasa.gov/centers-and-facilities/goddard/tonga-eruption-blasted-unprecedented-amount-of-water-into-stratosphere/.
    .
    “Tonga Eruption Blasted Unprecedented Amount of Water Into Stratosphere”
    .
    “When the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted Jan. 15, (2022)… blasted an enormous plume of water vapor into Earth’s stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The sheer amount of water vapor could be enough to temporarily affect Earth’s global average temperature.
    .
    The excess water vapor injected by the Tonga volcano, on the other hand, could remain in the stratosphere for several years.
    .
    Massive volcanic eruptions like Krakatoa and Mount Pinatubo typically cool Earth’s surface by ejecting gases, dust, and ash that reflect sunlight back into space. In contrast, the Tonga volcano didn’t inject large amounts of aerosols into the stratosphere, and the huge amounts of water vapor from the eruption may have a small, temporary warming effect, since water vapor traps heat. The effect would dissipate when the extra water vapor cycles out of the stratosphere and would not be enough to noticeably exacerbate climate change effects.”
    .
    That’s worth re-reading: “…when the extra water vapor cycles out of the stratosphere”. Imagine what happens when enough water to fill “more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools” decides to “cycle out of the stratosphere”, one hopes not all at once.

  16. I find the source material for this article strikingly false – as previous commenters have noted, salmon have been present in Arctic waters for as long as humans have been exploring. Everyone is taught that salmon return to the waters they were born in to breed – without tagged fish being monitored, how can they make such a speculative claim that salmon are migrating to new breeding grounds? Or more importantly, WHY? We have seen significant decline in American wild salmon stock, and blaming “climate change” as the reason is convenient to “their” control narrative while masking the real reason which is becoming more obvious: overfishing by foreign, mostly chinese, trawlers in US territorial waters. Research done at the university of woke is suspect on the face of it – and westley likely got a federal grant for an hypothesis based on woke ideas of “climate change” to scare certain constituencies into voting for politicos who support more handouts, control, and radical lifestyle changes to promote their goal of one-world government. The least westley could do is truthfully say his research proved absolutely nothing, found no new information, his report was pure speculation, and was a waste of grant money. Gotta call bs on this one. Thanks for posting it Suzanne.

    • Rich – you keep blaming overfishing in Alaska Territorial waters on Chinese trawlers. If only that were the case! Our Coast Guard could solve that problem fairly easily. Unfortunately, the destruction of Alaska’s crab, halibut and king salmon populations are occurring because of the Seattle based, USA flagged, factory trawl fleet that is protected by the powerful Washington State Congressional delegation & the National Marine Fisheries Service. It’s sad, but true, that our own Congressional delegation has failed to do anything meaningful to stop the carnage. The Dunleavy administration has apparently been captured by the trawl fleet’s lobbyists as he has turned a blind eye towards the problem.

  17. I don’t really think the right wants to control any of the groups or issues that you discuss. What they do want is for you and everyone that stands for those issues to quit trying to push those issues and ideals as though they are the majority, and everyone should follow in step. They are the ideas and the avenues of the minority and are not the ideals of the majority of Society. People do not want this minority type of thinking pushed on their children. This is where you step over the edge. Live and let live, but as the minority, you are not the norm and please stop telling me or my family that your way of life is what we need.

  18. Maybe chum salmon in the Colville River are a recent “discovery” to the two guys mentioned in the article, but according to other biologists, chum salmon have always been there!. More climate change bullch–.

  19. We are still recovering from the last ice age.
    We couldn’t change the climate if we wanted to.
    Or we would.
    I’d want it colder in Alaska.
    That helps keep our State clear of a lot of rabble.

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