Sunday, October 21, 2007
Is ODFW Really This Clueless?
Photo by Bill McMillan
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or ODFW apparently are unaware of the wild steelhead populations on the north coast! I really wish someone would wise them up before it's too late if it's not too late already.
Back a few years ago the gear guides on the north coast couldn't stand the fact that they couldn't make money off of the wild winter steelhead that return to the coastal rivers in February through April. They must have been thinking and scheming about a way to cover them from the end of the yearly winter hatchery steelhead bloodbath until the first spring chinook showed either in the Columbia or on the coast. They convinced ODFW that they would be willing partners in the wild steelhead broodstock programs. They would collect fish throughout the late winter months and by gosh if they made money at that time of year on guided trips then so must the better!
So now we have several years of the broodstock program under our belts and where are we?
Sure! the Tillamook area guides are making a bunch of money on their "collection" trips but what about the over all well being of the wild fish that is sustaining these programs?
Did ODFW forget about the wild fish in all this? It would certainly appear so.They are willing to plant some of the broodstock smolt in the lower river but they still insist on main stem plants in the very area and right on top of newly out of gravel wild smolt.
Were the area ODFW fish biologists off that day or something? Why did the head fish biologist not even know which fish were planted where? Do they even care? One has to wonder.
I'm obviously not a biologist but it does not take a degree to see what is happening. No, the ODFW biologists are not clueless! They know exactly what they are doing and that is ignoring science in order to pander to a vocal bunch of professional guides who have figured out a way to make money off of a recovering wild steelhead population that is being damaged by these broodstock plants.
So hey all you bait chucking, $175 a day mercenaries! Sleep well guys because you are contributing to the demise of what few wild fish remain...hope you can face your children some day when they ask you if you did all you could prevent the extinction of wild salmon and steelhead.