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Scientists searching for evidence of climate change in Alaska’s Cook Inlet say they’ve found the fingerprints of global warming in the falling numbers of prized Chinook salmon, but admit they chose to ignore the heavy bootprint of an invasive species in local waters.
Their peer-reviewed study published in Global Change Biology earlier this month looked at 15 salmon populations inhabiting Inlet streams from 1980 to 2015 and highlighted productivity for “the two coolest (Chulitna and Little Susitna rivers) and two warmest (Deshka River and Alexander Creek) study sites.”
It noted the Inlet harvest of the largest of the Pacific salmon has fallen from a peak of 134,489 in 1993 to 10,838 in 2012. It has remained generally low since, and the fish have been shrinking in size,which some scientists think could be linked to lack of food in the ocean.