Scientist Uses Drone To Capture Sockeye Salmon Run In Alaska

Jason Ching's "Above Illiamna" shows the stunning beauty of Bristol Bay.

Sockeye salmon school from the short film, Above Iliamna. Photo by Jason Ching

Technology often changes how people look at things. We have been able to see a great white shark attack a device used to track white shark predatory behavior. We have been able to watch an octopus take photos using a GoPro camera, and we have been given a glimpse of a turtle’s eye view of the Great Barrier Reef. Now, we have been given the chance to see a sockeye salmon spawning migration, all with the help of a drone and a video camera.

Scientist Jason Ching has been studying the sockeye salmon for years, having traveled up to Alaska nearly every summer since 2007 as a research scientist with the  Alaska Salmon Program/Fisheries Research Institute of the University of Washington. He took the incredible drone footage of a sockeye salmon run in Alaska that details nearly all aspects of the spawn, from the congregation of these fish near the streams in which they were born several years ago, to the actual spawning and even some of the die off of these anadromous fish.

Ching’s short film, Above Iliamna, is a sight to see at just under 4 minutes in length. Not only does it detail with incredible beauty the salmon runs, but also that of Bristol Bay, which is under assault by a proposed mine project that has the potential to destroy the natural beauty of the area as well as the famed sockeye salmon runs the region is known for. The latest news is that Rio Tinto, a stakeholder in the proposed mine, has ended its involvement in the project. Will some other entity pick up where Rio Tinto left off is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime, check out the beauty that is “Above Iliamna.”

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Fish · Lifestyle