The Comeback Fish

Imported salmon are bringing back lake trout by devouring invasive alewives.

December 10, 2014

"What's happened on Lake Huron is not just a story about the death of its man-made Pacific salmon fishery. It's also about the rise of something nobody expected—Mother Nature herself. This Great Lake, it turns out, possessed a remarkable ability to heal itself; the salmon and their preferred prey—the alewives—ultimately succumbed to wave after wave of new invasions since the early 1990s. But the lake's native fish species, built to thrive in its frigid and relatively sterile waters, have figured out how to thrive amid all this fresh ecological chaos by feasting on the new intruders. The questions now: Will this resurrection of native fish spread across the Great Lakes? And will it even matter if we fail to close the doors to the next invasion?"

—From “The Man with the Salmon Plan,” Dan Egan’s Journal Sentinel story, the first in a three-part series about how meddling with the world's largest freshwater ecosystem helped bring back the native lake trout (for now)


onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Us

When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.