Blog: Umatilla professor's discovery could help save ancient fish
"The scientific discovery of an ancient stress hormone by a tribal member could lead to the survival of the most ancient of the native fish in the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific lamprey, an eel like fish that evolved more than 500 million years ago.

David Close, Ph.D. is a Cayuse and a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla in Northeastern Oregon, a Columbia River treaty fishing tribe that’s been at the forefront in calling the Pacific lamprey’s restoration.

Close, a professor at the University of British Columbia discovered the corticosteroid hormone, which is important for monitoring environmental impacts that stress the lamprey like when they’re going down river in barges or trying to negotiate fish ladders designed for salmon.

Like salmon, the Pacific lamprey is born in freshwater and travels to the ocean for its adult life, then returns to the upper reaches of rivers where it forgoes food for a year before spawning. Before construction of the dams, tribal peoples fished for the once abundant lamprey in the falls along the Columbia and its tributaries. There are only an estimated 11,000 left in the Columbia River.

The lamprey is a culturally important subsistence and medicinal fish for the Columbia River tribes, who want it targeted for conservation in the way that endangered salmon populations are in Washington, Oregon and California rivers."

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The Range: Native discovery could save important fish (High Country News 9/16)