"While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales' main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.
Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it's hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more.
"This has been a season of unusually large fish, and many weighing from 60 to 70 pounds have been taken," The Oregonian reported in 1895.
Now, more than a century later, "it's not impossible that we see individuals of that size today, but it's much, much rarer," University of Washington research scientist Jan Ohlberger says. ...
A century's worth of dam-building, overfishing, habitat loss and replacement by hatchery fish cut the size of the average chinook in half, studies in the 1980s and 1990s found."