Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Stop the Insanity!!!

Anyone remember Susan Powter? She was that manic crew cut wearing blond exercise and diet guru and television huckster from the 90's who assaulted our senses with her commercials. Her catch phrase was "Stop the Insanity!!!" I always thought she was referring to her own commercials and so I took her advice and turned the channel.
I think she may have been on to something with that phrase though. I would like to apply it to our current wild fish management here in the north west.
I was talking to a friend who has a copy of the 1953 Oregon Fishing regulations and was amazed at just how progressive those regs were fifty five years ago. There were actually closures and protections of wild salmon and steelhead that were years ahead of their times. Sixty oneyears ago apparently someone at ODFW had the fore sight to think about the future of wild fish!
I feel the states of Oregon and Washington have taken huge steps backwards concerning wild salmonids in recent years though.
The steelhead broodstock programs on the Nestucca and Wilson rivers are a prime example of the harvest drunk mentality that pervades the thinking these days. We have convinced ourselves that we cannot possibly live without fish to harvest and by God we deserve fish to harvest! The broodstock programs are not the only misadventures of fishery management in this region.
Amazingly history has shown us time and time again just how resilient wild salmon and steelhead are. They have rebounded from poor logging practices, mining and even volcano eruptions! The main thing that has brought wild fish to their knees is.....hatchery fish. You can trace nearly every case of wild fish demise to the introduction of hatchery fish into the rivers of the region.
Wild winter steelhead were rebounding nicely on the north Oregon coast until these ill conceived broodstock programs started around 2001.They were started under the guise of better hatchery management but in reality they are nothing more than bait guide welfare programs. We see the decline but ODFW will not acknowledge it and any ground that was gained in bringing back wild fish from the brink has been lost. The proverbial one step forward and two steps back saying comes to mind here.
So here's to those of you that simply must have a fish to kill and the fishery managers that seem hell bent on sating that gluttony at the expense of wild fish. I hope in the end that you will be happy with your artificial and dwindling resource and the outraged fishing public that will want answers.
I find your thinking disturbing and disgusting but rest assured that those who truly do want to stop the insanity are not about to give up quite yet.
Oh and those of you that "pimp" the resource for financial gain? No, I haven't forgotten about you wonderful people who sell out wild fish without giving anything back. You know who you are and I have definitely had plenty to comment on you in past entries. You fishing website owners, guides and businesses who lack the integrity and conscience in favor of making money on the very thing you claim to love. If I believed in the existence of hell then I would certainly believe there is a special place for your kind there.
You might find my comments rude and angry but listen folks my passion comes from a deep seeded belief that we are responsible for the earth we leave our children and grandchildren. From the looks of things as they now are they are not going to be very pleased with us.

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