The swish of a caudal fin through a bubbling mountain stream excites my memory. I started my career as a fisheries biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. That was at a time when fish in Oregon meant one thing: salmon. Chinook or coho, salmon were a symbol, a sport, an industry, a signature item on the menu, and—eventually—an emergency room full of endangered species. To say that salmon define the Pacific Northwest is a cautionary tale.
But fish in Oregon should mean more than salmon. There are more species of fish in the world than all the species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles combined. And yet there are far fewer fish in the sea than there used to be. Researchers at Oregon State University are working to restore populations of fish and to support thriving industries and livelihoods for people in Oregon and around the world. In this issue of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress magazine, we explore ways that our future intertwines with fish.
Agricultural research is focused on solving problems and building economic opportunity—on land and water. Dive in.