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Salmon Have Shrunk So Much That Whole Foods Redid Its Guidelines

  • Climate change seen as threat to Pacific Rim’s ‘keystone’ fish
  • Wild salmon woes pose threats to Alaska’s $2 billion industry
A fisherman washes freshly caught salmon in Newtok, Alaska.
A fisherman washes freshly caught salmon in Newtok, Alaska.Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

At OBI Seafoods, a sprawling operation with outposts throughout Alaska, there’s all sorts of extra machinery for workers to master. At Whole Foods Market, there are new guidelines for purchasing salmon from wholesalers. And at Ivar’s, a fixture on Seattle’s waterfront for eight decades, the chef is sending back more and more salmon delivered to his kitchen.

Behind all these changes is an alarming trend that’s been building for years: The giant schools of wild Pacific salmon that can turn southeast Alaska’s ice-cold waters into a brilliant orange blur are thinning out, and those that do survive are shrinking in size.