Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm Right About Wild Fish and Why You Should Listen To Me

That title sounds pretty arrogant doesn't it? Sorry but it's the truth and sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. Here is why I can, with all modesty, say that I'm right about wild and native fish.
Now listen closely all you hatchery huggers and I will make it real simple for even you to understand.
I follow the science! Got that? I don't make shit up to suit my own selfish needs, I adhere to what the vast majority of fish and wildlife biologists say about the harmful effect of hatchery salmonids on wild spawning salmon, steelhead and trout. I took the time to actually read what the experts say and I came to the conclusion that those who are smarter than me about fisheries science are right.
Oh I could make up stuff all day long to justify my belief that hatcheries have no adverse effect on wild fish. It would be easy to do to make myself feel better about killing wild fish and supporting hatchery programs that are harmful to wild fish. I could say stupid shit like "There are no true wild fish left" or "Efforts to restore wild populations have failed so let's plant billions of hatchery fish in the rivers". It would be real easy to do that. I could be the FOX News of the Pacific Northwest angling internet and pull random fabrications out of the air to present as facts so the gullible and greedy will buy into it.Isn't that the same stuff Donald Trump is doing? I could conjure up mass hysteria like what happened against Native Fish Society last year. The facts don't lie and no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you are owed fish to harvest the harsh reality of science is there.
I recently read of a north Oregon coast fishing guide proudly bragging about how many wild fish he put into the steelhead broodstock program. Do you think that if he actually took the time to calculate the amount of wild steelhead he and ODFW did not allow to naturally spawn in the river he would be so jubilant? Probably wouldn't make any difference because he and many others have convinced themselves what a good deed he did "For The Fish".
Just another reason why he and others should listen to me because I know what is best and they don't. I listen to those who have studied this subject and I believe them. Science is not infallible. What science does that makes it a better system is that it asks why things are the way they are and seeks the truth. As Al Gore would call it "An Inconvenient Truth" to some but the truth nonetheless.
So you have two choices here dear readers. You can listen to those who make things up about how hatchery fish have no adverse effect on wild spawning fish and try to present them as facts or you can listen to me! I know this much though and it's just this simple.....I am right.

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Harvest Mentality Revisited

"Let's raise the daily bag limit from two wild cutthroat trout to three fish daily"   

"I like to kill a few wild trout a year"

 "Fill the rivers with billions of hatchery steelhead"

 "Native Fish Society and Trout Unlimited are conspiring to get hatcheries closed"

The above quotes are all from the internet. People wanting to kill fish, any fish wild or hatchery.
The need for people to kill their catch has spawned (no pun intended) websites and fishing groups dedicated solely to harvest!
I'll dispense with all the rhetoric about just how harmful hatchery salmon, steelhead and trout to native salmonid spawners. It's all out there and all you have to do is a little research and I have even provided links in other posts to that end.
I am going to try to examine the harvest mentality.
The need to kill your catch is probably an instinct brought forth from our hunter/gatherer past. The need to provide food for the survival of our families was necessary in the pre-Costco days. The state fish and wildlife agencies have, for over a hundred years, artificially populated out rivers with fish to harvest. These fish are present in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest to harvest and they should be harvested.
All of the sudden the well is running dry and with the Endangered Species Act the state cannot dump millions of hatchery smolt into our river in order to sate a growing population of anglers.
But what about all the fish I am entitled to? I need those countless jars of cured eggs so I can catch more fish to get more eggs to get more fish...you get the idea.
Even when there are increased bag limits and increased hatchery releases it never seems to be enough!
The market for salmon roe alone is a booming business along with the latest and greatest egg cures. Cure recipes are closely guarded secrets and are not cheap. The need for more fresh eggs drive the desire to harvest.
 Then there is the annual fights over spring Chinook allocations which are epic in that the primary user groups can never seem to get enough of these most valuable Chinook salmon.
The chest thumping fishing narcissists self publish books on "how to catch more salmon and steelhead" while the angling public wants more and more. Hey how about self publishing a book about the virtues of catch and release of wild fish or how best to protect our wild, cold water fisheries?
The department of fish and wildlife's mantra of angling opportunities to get the public to buy fishing licenses while offering an inferior product while they marginalize wild fish populations by allowing a limited harvest on native salmonids that they deem recovered enough to kill a few.
I could spend hours writing about all I have seen and experienced concerning the tapeworm that infects fishermen to hunger for more fish, to have more fish planted for them to harvest and to hell with any conservation efforts.
 One has to come to the conclusion that the harvest mentality is very real and getting worse. Native fish advocacy groups are generally vilified and slandered for their efforts by those desiring to harvest more fish! Some even make up lies about groups like Trout Unlimited and Native Fish Society.
Once again I want to stress that the harvest of hatchery origin salmonids is a good thing. Those fish are expensive to rear and they are raised for harvest. A fisherman should be required to harvest every hatchery salmon or steelhead he encounters no matter the condition. Get them out of the river so they cannot comingle with wild fish. However the effect of over production of hatchery fish is one cause of dwindling native fish population. The actual overall effect is something that is hotly debated among anglers and wild fish groups.
Remember this though. The world is not our oyster and I may actually see the extinction of some fish species in my lifetime.