A Sad Tale of Two Fishes

CJ Trowbridge

Micro Econ


A Sad Tale of Two Fishes

Prompt: Why do salmon populations face extinction the world over while goldfish populations face no such danger?

As someone who grew up in the mountains of Southern Oregon and experienced first-hand the bleeding edge of Salmon conservation efforts, this issue is close to my heart. Wild Salmon populations all over the world face extinction because of negative corporate and public externalities. One of the leading problems historically has been poor design of hydroelectric-dams providing power to home energy markets. These dams can interrupt Salmon runs and prevent them from reaching their spawning grounds. This is literally the definition of genocide: an entire generation of a population is prevented from reproducing before they die.

More recently, these issues have been addressed in many places around the world, and populations are sometimes on the rise. Another negative externality which threatens wild Salmon populations is habitat destruction through pollution or other means. In some shocking cases, physical barriers are put down by people trying to deliberately sabotage or destroy populations in order to later avoid officially responding to conservation efforts during planned future development.

In contrast, Gold fish are a common fancy pet which have spawned a large and macabre market. Many people buy them in order to treat them as a disposable and temporary pet for children who put them in enclosures they cannot possibly survive in and without correct filtration or food in place. Goldfish will often live short and tortured lives, starving or suffocating because of improper equipment and then they are frequently replaced by sadistic and irresponsible parents, ambivalent to the harm they are causing to these animals. A large industry exists to create an endless supply of these animals for children and parents to negligently kill.