Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Are Wild Fish Just a Commodity?
Websters defines a commodity as one that is subject to ready exchange or exploitation within a market. The key word here is exploitation! With this in mind have our wild salmon, steelhead and trout become just another means to make money?
I certainly think they have. The state of Oregon will take a run of wild steelhead and turn their offspring into harvestable hatchery fish with the claim that these broodstock fish are a better hatchery product. In truth what they have done is use these wild steelhead as a means to sell licenses and provide area fishing guides with a way to capitalize on this diminishing resource. My friend describes this as guide welfare.
How about allowing a harvest of wild coastal cutthroat trout? Again the state claims that by doing this it will get young people excited about fishing and since they are the future license buyers it will be a win/win situation? See the big picture here?
It's really not a new concept at all unfortunately. The country has been exploiting nearly every natural resource this tired old planet has to offer without putting anything back. We have pushed our environment to the brink!
It's not a very encouraging scenario and one could easily get discouraged but there does seem to be an awareness emerging among concerned people who want to take whatever steps necessary to turn this alarming trend around.
In the past I've witnessed the state of Oregon take steps to return our runs of wild salmonids back into some semblance of recovery. The north coast wild steelhead were making a come back due largely to angler education like catch and release for wild steelhead. The Nestucca river was turning the corner and we were seeing good runs of these wild fish returning and successfully spawning proving that it can be done with some intelligent fishery management. Well you probably can guess the rest of the story and the sad saga of the steelhead broodstock programs on the coastal rivers. We are now seeing these recovering runs slipping back into critical condition and for what? To sell more licenses and give the fishing guides a money making opportunity on a run of fish that should have been left alone or at least not exploited for profit.
It's all about money and keeping antiquated programs afloat and maybe a little cronyism thrown in just for good measure.
It is time to get a grip with reality and that reality is easy to understand. We cannot allow our last few remaining wild salmonids to be bartered about like a sack of corn.
The Quiet Pool has been likened to some radical Eco-terrorist group like ALF (Animal Liberation Front) because of my outspoken defense of wild salmon and steelhead. First of all I really doubt that I have that much influence, if any, on ODFW policy through my writings here. This is just my thoughts and opinions and while I strive to back what I say with facts I make no claim to be an expert.
I am simply a concerned angler trying to make a difference in whatever humble way I can.
Thanks for reading