Monday, June 16, 2008
Can I Super Size That For You?
So here we sit looking into the abyss that is the current salmon runs on the west coast. We can point fingers at so many things like El Nino or pinniped predation or hydro electric dams or over harvest by commercial and sports fishing interests and all have played a part in the current down turn to be sure.
When things were fat and a lot of salmon and steelhead were returning everyone was happy and everybody got their share of the salmon pie.
Seems like there were new fishing "superstars" everywhere and the number of "expert" guides increased ten fold. The builders of fishing boats and fishing tackle manufacturers reaped the rewards of the years of plenty.
These boom years and the emergence of the world wide web spawned more than a few fishing forums that cashed in on the good fishing.
So let's fast forward to less than ten years later and see what we have. Of course there is even more bickering and infighting amongst the various users groups and with few exceptions the internet fishing forums have petered out.Many of those self proclaimed angling "experts" have vanished.
I will not be surprised if I see a few of the Tillamook bait guides flipping burgers at The Fern restaurant or maybe ushering at the downtown Tillamook movie house in the near future. Yes these carpetbaggers from the Willamette Valley have found that the well is running dry and all those dark hen chinook they kept and discarded the unfit for the table carcasses simply for the eggs has finally caught up with them.Is it any wonder that the owner of ifish.net, a business that has benefited greatly from those fat years of salmon returns, has hinted about selling the popular fishing forum?
It's kind of too bad for some businesses though. There are some that were friends of the resource, unlike those previously mentioned, who will lose out. I'm not totally heartless you see.
During those boom years we would seldom see most of those previously mentioned guides and businesses at important public meetings concerning fisheries. Oh yeah they would be at the ones that served their own selfish interests but when it came to the real conservation stuff they were all no shows!
With the bloated budget of ODFW surely to find the scissors of the governor of this state maybe just maybe we will see some of the worthless and wild fish killing programs die a painful death. Those programs like the steelhead broodstock programs will not go easily though and those who have made a bunch of cash on the backs of wild fish will not give up without a fight.
I will not mourn however, I knew these times were coming and not because I am especially enlightened or anything. I saw it from the perspective of conservation and anyone without any self serving agenda could see the same thing.
So friends don't feel too bad for those that hastened the downturn because after all they did their part to bring us where we are today.I can hear them saying it now "Would you like french fries with that order sir?" I call that poetic justice!