The North Country is famous for its abundant and charismatic wildlife—grizzly bears, moose, whales, caribou, eagles. But none of these comes close to the importance of salmon for northern communities and environments.

Nearly all Alaskans can witness the annual runs of salmon near their villages and towns. They love to eat salmon; they either fish for salmon or know someone who does; they watch salmon, read about salmon, celebrate salmon in art and song, pray for salmon; make their livelihoods from salmon; and shape their year around the annual runs of salmon.

Salmon are also vital to literally hundreds of other animals and plants throughout Alaska and the North. Sea lions and killer whales prey on salmon; brown bears and river otters snatch them from streams; bald eagles and swarming gulls scavenge on their remains. The great runs bring nutrients to our forests of ancient trees. 

SalmonWorld explores all of this and more, through stories and videos, photographs and sounds, arts and antics. SalmonWorld ranges everywhere in Alaska, today and in the past. And we roam down the coast from Canada to California and beyond, following the fish that feed people throughout the world.


Liz McKenzie is a writer and filmmaker based in Sitka, Alaska.   She’s passionate about sharing the nature, science and traditional ecological knowledge of Alaska through her writing and films.  Much of her work is centered on wild salmon—the lifeblood of Alaskan communities both human and ecological. Liz's films have been seen widely at conferences and film festivals in Alaska, throughout the US and internationally.

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Richard Nelson has spent most of his life in Alaska, pursuing his fascination with the natural world and the outdoors.   He lived for years as a cultural anthropologist with Inupiaq Eskimo, Gwich’in, and Koyukon Indian people, leading to his books about traditional native knowledge and subsistence.   He has also written award-winning books about nature, including The Island Within; and he produced a public radio series exploring the wild, titled Encounters.   At home in southeast Alaska, Richard watches salmon, fishes for salmon, eats salmon, celebrates salmon, and dreams of the day when Alaska is known—first and foremost—as the Salmon State.