Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Do Wild Fish Matter?
Ask yourself that and I'd bet you would say "Of course they do!" and I'm sure most are sincere so maybe I'm just preaching to the choir here. If that applies to you then you can skip the rest if you want.
If you are not sure then maybe I can help you to see what I'm getting at here.
First of all if you think that by saving hatcheries, going to fin clippings,working on boat ramps or helping the steelhead broodstock program makes you some kind of conservation hero then think again. In 2002 you helped save the north coast hatcheries by showing up at Tillamook county Fairgrounds or ODFW headquarters and feel pretty good huh? Whether you meant well or not all you accomplished is nailing just another nail into the coffin of wild salmonids. Yes I might be blunt here but you did the wild salmon and steelhead of the Pacific northwest no favor at all. If you clipped fins at some Tillamook county good old boys pet project then shame on you!
There is absolutely no excuse for not being educated about wild fish and their habitat...none!
Dumping hatchery raised salmon and steelhead into the habitat of wild fish is death to those wild fish. It's a proven fact that hatchery plantings damage the delicate balance of wild fish and their environment. Didn't know that huh? Well BS! There is no excuse for not knowing. Perhaps you don't really care? That isn't surprising since after all the state of Oregon owes you fish to harvest don't they?
Feeling a little scorched huh? Hey I warned you didn't I?
Listen folks if we are ever going to get to sustainable numbers of wild fish then this hatchery madness has to end. We cannot continue to harvest wild fish at the rate we are going and think that dumping gazillions of hatchery raised fish into a river to replace will solve the problem because it will not.
Allowing the harvest of wild coastal cutthroat trout and the pitiful numbers of returning fall chinook salmon plus a myriad of other devastating situations facing our wild salmonids. Wild winter run steelhead populations are in a death spiral and ignorance along with greed is what got them there and unless the public gets wised up about what is at stake then it is a gloomy future.
I'm not saying there has not been progress because there has but we risk throwing every gain we have made by idly standing by and doing nothing. Killing sea lions is not the answer and neither is running the gill nets off the Columbia however getting educated and getting involved is the answer. Think beyond your ego and how many quarts of eggs or pounds of fillets you can put in your freezer.
I apologize if you've been offended by the tone of this post.....wait a minute!!!!! No I do not apologize because if anything I've said here makes any of you uncomfortable in any way then I'm glad because maybe you'll get involved. The old saying that is you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem, while being a cliche, never rang truer.