Every year, wild salmon travel hundreds of miles upstream. They fight fierce river currents, leap over rocks and small waterfalls, and die by the thousands of starvation, disease, and exposure to cold. Even if they surmount these obstacles, the fish risk becoming dinner for hungry predators like bears, birds, and humans. Guided by a keen sense of smell, the survivors travel to their original hatching grounds, where they breed, spawn, and quickly die.
Salmon reveals this amazing life cycle to be just part of the larger story of these fascinating fish. The cultural life of salmon, Peter Coates explains, is rich with myths about “the king of fish,” from lands as diverse as Nova Scotia, Norway, Korea, and California. Coates’s history details the salmon’s cherished symbolic meaning as well as its current status as the ignoble product of fish hatcheries. Encompassing evolutionary, ecological, and cultural perspectives, Salmon is the perfect book for anyone who has ever eaten or tried to catch this delightful—and delectable—fish.