Ah yes! The harvest mentality is alive and well in Oregon and Washington! I can just hear it in Tillamook and Clatsop counties right now. "Endangered fish? We don't care about no stinkin' endangered fish! We want our freezers filled with freezer burned fillets and sodium cured eggs"
Well I sure as hell care about them and know many people who also care about them. This damn hatchery addiction has got to end if we ever want to have wild salmon, steelhead and trout for the future!
From the Oregonian
ASTORIA-- Four counties say a draft federal plan for managing lower Columbia River fish hatcheries is "flawed" and "inadequate."
Officials from Clatsop and Columbia counties in Oregon and Pacific and Wahkiakum counties in Washington wrote a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding how the federally funded hatcheries will be managed.
The Daily Astorian reports the federal agency's draft environmental statement spells out five potential operating scenarios for the hatcheries funded with money under the Mitchell Act, the law that provides federal dollars for conservation of Columbia River basin salmon and steelhead.
The counties said the 1,100-page document is divisive and assumes that fish production will not increase. It does not acknowledge basin-by-basin efforts to restore fish runs, county officials said, that they claim they were not consulted in the process. They requested that it be withdrawn.
"The history of working together and the values we share for future abundance is too important to leave to this flawed and inadequate document," the letter said.
For 10 years, funding has ranged from $11 million to $16 million for annual hatchery operation funding of 62 programs. They have produced more than 71 million fish each year.
Congress has not appropriated the money to operate the hatcheries next year.
The five operating and funding scenarios included in the draft consider multiple options but none include increasing fish production.
One scenario discontinues Mitchell Act funding and others cut back the number of fish caught by up to nearly 50 percent. Four options close hatcheries and cut production.
In the zero-funding scenario, production would be cut to about 36 percent of the status quo. Another would operate lower Columbia River hatcheries with stricter standards to protect natural-origin fish, and a third would apply those tougher standards to upper river hatcheries.
Clatsop County Manager Duane Cole said the focus should be on developing resources needed to adequately support the hatchery system. The current funding of $12.5 million should be boosted to $35 million to $40 million, he said.
"The federal government needs to get serious about developing abundance by fully funding the hatchery system," Cole said. "The resources spent on this document should be spent on enhancing the system to restore the fish runs," Cole said.