Salmon Conservation: Opinion and Recommendations


Our friend and Caddis Fly Blog contributor Jay Nicholas has posted a chapter he wrote for the Salmon 2100 Project, back in 2006. Although this may be considered old news to folks who have read the the book, published by the American Fisheries Society, I bet that many people have not been formally introduced to these ideas. So, in the spirit of engaging constructive discussions regarding conservation of wild salmon, steelhead, and trout, here is a link to Jay’s Post.

Jay’s chapter from The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon.

Jay has over three decades experience as a fisheries scientist (working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and the Wild Salmon Center) and specializing principally with all things hinting of life history, ecology, and management of salmon, trout, and steelhead here in Oregon.

This article touches on many concepts:

__  building organized support for wild salmon,

__ keeping a place for salmon in one’s daily routine,

__ creating opportunities for non-anglers to interact with wild salmon,

__ achieving unified support for wild fish,

__ engaging children to the cause of wild fish,

__ supporting the Tribes,

__ considering a future when people do not fish for salmon and steelhead,

__  improving funding and efficiencies of hatchery production, and simultaneously easing-up on the hatchery-fish accelerator pedal,

__ changing the federal ESA,

__ practicing triage in salmon conservation,

__managing species that are predators on salmon,

__consolidating land ownerships, and habitat restoration.

That list is long, and while many of the suggestions are not novel, I frankly was surprised and intrigued the way the recommendations were delivered and some of the essential ideas.

Three opinions are quite clear in this article:

First – anyone who really cares about the future of wild Pacific Salmon should not assume that government, or science, or scientific salmon experts and managers should be entrusted with the business of securing the future of wild fish.

Second – there is no secret solution that only experts can reveal that will save wild salmon in our future. People have it within their reach to save abundant wild salmon – if they want to.

Third – many of the various organized salmon conservation groups engage far too much time snitting at each other, jockeying for political dominance, and fund raising — to the detriment of the cause of conserving wild fish.

If you find any of the topics I’ve mentioned here intriguing, give the article a browse; I think you will find some thought-provoking ideas.

As I write this, we still have some relatively strong runs of wild silvers, kings, and winter steelhead here on the Oregon coast — not their historical numbers, but still pretty decent — considering what we have done to the habitat, how hard we have fished them, and our legacy of hatchery practices. ¬† Your engagement in wild salmon conservation can only help the cause of these fish.

And remember please, wild McKenzie trout are taxonomically grouped with the Pacific Salmon so even if your interest is focused on rainbow and cutthroat close to Eugene, this conservation conversation is part of the equation we need to understand.

The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon was published (and is sold) by the American Fisheries Society in 2006: Robert (Bob) Lackey is the Principal Editor.


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