The Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska is a globally significant producer of wild salmon and steps should be taken protect this resource from a variety of threats, according to a top fisheries biologist with the U.S. Forest Service who spoke in Juneau recently.
Ron Medel, fisheries program manager for the Tongass National Forest, gave two addresses in Alaska’s capital city on April 3 and 4 about the abundance of wild salmon from Southeast Alaska’s 17-million-acre temperate rainforest.
According to a Juneau Empire article, Medel told the House Fisheries Committee that an average 79 percent of salmon commercially caught in the region every year are wild fish from the Tongass. That equates to about 28 percent of Alaska’s annual commercial salmon catch and 25.6 percent of the commercial salmon catch in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean region, said Medel, who spoke the night before at Centennial Hall.
The article quoted Medel as saying, “it’s a big bloc of fish.”
“If we’re not America’s salmon forest, tell me a forest that is,” said Medel.