Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The New Crusaders for Northwest Salmon?
It appears that there is a new kid on the block as far as fish conservation goes.
The CCA which is short for Coastal Conservation Association has burst upon the scene here in the Pacific Northwest and it looks like people are falling all over themselves to join. The CCA is an east coast organization who has lobbied for saltwater fishery issues.
Here is their mission statement which was taken directly from their website and it states the following....
The stated purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on
conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to
conserve, promote and enhance the present and future
availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and
enjoyment of the general public.
The CCA movement comes to the northwest at the recommendation of Gary Loomis of Loomis Rods. Loomis is quite influential in the region and has been instrumental in putting thousands of hatchery fish into rivers like the Lewis and Cowlitz in Washington with his "Fish First" group using hatch boxes.
So what have we got here with the CCA? A group that will fight for wild fish and their habitat? A group that will take on polluters and their harmful practices that affect our lakes and streams? A champion for the cause of restoring the remnants of our wild salmonids to a semblance of their former selves?
or just another group that wants a bunch of fish to harvest and promises to go to bat fo their membership in getting them a bigger slice of the salmon pie. Once again the general fishing public is looking to a savior that they think will get the gillnets, both commercial and tribal, out of the Columbia river. Once again the "I don't give a damn about wild fish issues" general fishing public is looking for yet another groups to help them fill their freezers with salmon fillets and cured eggs. Once again, like a spoiled little child, the general sports fishermen and women want what they want when they want it!
They can make all kinds of excuses for their apathetic approach to any issue that does not involve harvesting more fish but they are woefully absent when it comes down to dealing with the tough issues involved. If it means protecting wild salmon or steelhead then they always have other priorities or are indignant to the point of rage because they feel they are not getting their lion's share of the allocation pie of havestable salmon.
I really don't know much about CCA and according to a good friend that has joined CCA the harvest drunk sports anglers of the Pacific Northwest are going to be disappointed in CCA.This is apparently not a group that takes on allocation and quota issues. If the CCA is truly concerned about the over all well being of our coldwater and marine fisheries then I welcome them. We shall see! I am reserving judgment on this organization until I get more information and see them in action.
Face it! The gillnets, especially the native American ones are not going anywhere and all these "conservation" organizations are not going to make much of a difference. The gill netters usually clean the floor with the sports groups during allocation hearings for Columbia river salmon because the sports groups spend so much of their time fighting like hungry dogs for a bone.
The whole process of wild fish enhancement involves sacrifice and making hard choices. So call me cynical but I just don't see many people willing to put the needs of the resource AND WILD FISH ahead of their own greed!