Coastal Conservation Association

The CCA started a Pacific Northwest "division" to focus on the NW Salmon and Steelhead. Below is an excerpt from a press release listed on their web site (http://www.ccapnw.org), which really drove the point home for me.

"We restored a run of Coho salmon to a creek that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife declared dead only to see commercial fisheries cripple it again," said Gary Loomis, founder of G. Loomis Rods and a key figure in the effort to bring CCA to the Northwest. "In 1996, when we started, there were 32 salmon in that creek. We brought it back to 16,000 spawning, native fish. Two years ago, commercial gillnetters targeted that run of salmon. Only 6,100 made it back. They targeted them again this year. That was when we decided we needed to try and bring CCA to the Northwest to help us stop the over harvest of our native and wild fish runs."

I like to fish for, catch and eat salmon but there needs to be responsible harvesting of this diminishing resource.  Sure there are a multitude of factors affecting the decline of the salmon returns, commercial and sport fishing, hydroelectric dams and habitat destruction, just to name a few.  And with the fewer returning salmon, the commercial fishing industry has struggled to profit but if they effectively fish a run to extinction, what will they catch to earn a living?

I think it is sad that when the Lewis & Clark Expedition reached the Columbia River, they estimated that 16 million salmon where returning to spawn each year. This past spring the forecast was that almost 270,000 adult Chinook might return to the Columbia River. Based on all the excitement, you would have thought there was no longer a problem getting the salmon to return. Let's do the math, 270,000 is 1.7 percent of the 16,000,000 estimated by Lewis & Clark and company. It is time to tell the policy makers at the Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife Departments that while 270,000 (native and hatchery) is better than recent returns, it is time to get serious about restoring the runs of native, wild salmon.