Species of the family of Salmonidae occur naturally in Northern Hemisphere waters that remain clear and cool to cold in summer. For purposes of reproduction, salmonids generally behaviorally respond to the currents of streams and lakes in recently glaciated areas. For feeding and maturation, many larger species migrate into existing systems of large lakes, seas, and oceans. The subfamilies include Salmoninae, Coregoninae, and Thymallinae. In many locales and regions of the hemisphere, numerous species of these subfamilies evolved and self-organized into species flocks or taxocenes of bewildering complexity. For example, any individual species may play different or unique ecological roles in different taxocenes. The northern Pacific and Atlantic Ocean ecosystems, with their seas and tributaries, each contained a metacomplex of such taxocenes that, in their natural state some centuries ago, resembled each other but differed in many ways. Humans have valued all species of this family for subsistence, ceremonial, naturalist, gustatory, angling, and commercial reasons for centuries. Modern progressive humans (MPHs), whose industrial and commercial enterprises have gradually spread over this hemisphere in recent time, now affect aquatic ecosystems at all scales from local to global. These human effects mingle in complex ways that together induce uniquely natural salmonid taxocenes to disintegrate with the loss of species, including those groups least tolerant to human manipulations, but extending more recently to those taxa more adapted to anthropogenic change. As we leave the modern era, dominated by MPHs, will we find ways to live sustainably with salmonid taxocenes that still exhibit self-organizational integrity, or will only individual, isolated populations of salmonid species, derived from those most tolerant of MPHs, survive? To achieve future sustainability of salmonids, we suggest implementation of a search for intuitive knowledge based on faith in the wisdom of nature and a caring-sharing, behavioral structure based on "survival of the wisest" for both humans and salmonids. ?? 2004 by the American Fisheries Society.
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Sustaining salmonid populations: A caring understanding of naturalness of taxa