Friday, April 07, 2017

The Vilification of Conservation....A Disturbing Trend


In the past few years there has been a disturbing trend going on here in the Pacific Northwest. Organizations, whose mission it is to protect wild salmon,steelhead and trout, are now the hated enemy. Outrageous lies, perpetrated by well known fishing guides and others, are rampant throughout the internet fishing community. Outright slander directed at groups like Native Fish Society is now common on internet fishing sites.
Why is this and what is this? The why is the paranoia that these conservation groups are working to have hatcheries closed. The what is just plain old fear mongering by those that are apparently too dumb to understand and by those with a personal agenda who will go to any length and spread any lie to achieve their goals of over loading rivers with harmful hatchery plants.
They also have bought into the lie that these conservation groups want to make all streams fly fishing only! Again not true but this is perhaps the most popular lie.
I am a lifetime member of Trout Unlimited. I am also a member of Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Federation of Fly Fishers. None of these groups want to make our Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead rivers fly fishing only! Got that? None!!!
Then there is the the disdain for proven science. Fish biologists have almost unanimously agreed that hatchery salmonids are harmful to wild salmonids.Even Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has published papers, BY THEIR OWN BIOLOGISTS, stating the harmful effects of hatchery fish! Clearly the preponderance of evidence is there! Yet in this day and age of disdaining anything scientific this evidence is dismissed.Instead the opinion of arm chair fishery biologists,gear guides and half-baked, self proclaimed fishing experts who have little practical training if any in complex fishery science is listened to by the ignorant masses. Does this scenario sound familiar? The opinion of some north coast guides is listened to instead of those with doctoral degrees. Go figure huh?
Anytime that conservation groups are compared to Nazism and the holocaust then the debate has gone into a dangerous and dark direction. There is no accountability for the fear mongering and these lies and that is too bad.You can bombard the lies with facts and peer proven science but to no avail.
We are nearing the end of a resource that was once abundant. Because of ignorance,greed and short-sightedness we are looking at the proverbial bottom of the barrel.
I am not a fish biologist so anything I state that comes off as personal opinion can be taken with a grain of salt. I try to avoid getting on a soap box but I will definitely link scientific data about the dangers of things like broodstock programs and inter-action between hatchery fish and wild fish. There is a ton of unbiased studies out there.
Conservation groups get accused of "cherry picking" the science and that is something that is totally untrue! There are a lot of thoughtful, intelligent people in groups like Native Fish Society who know that to publish false information would be ruinous to the organization so they just do not do it.
The old "you want to close the hatcheries" argument is something right out of the alt-right playbook. You feed people lies and misinformation long enough you might actually get a few of the more gullible to believe you! FOX News is a prime example of using lies and fear mongering to sway votes.
If you want to debate me then you can bet that I will politely listen to your points but if you start spouting off bullshit then I will come back at you with science. It's the only way right?
I first wrote this entry back 4 years ago and have updated  and expanded it.
The fact remains that there is still mistrust and outright hate towards the very people who are trying to save a few wild fish for future generation.It's maddening and frustrating beyond words.
All of us that care about the cold water fisheries here in the Pacific Northwest know that this is imperative! Follow the science!

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