Commenting on the June 9 story “Tribal officials explain dislike of fin-clipping salmon,” I feel that turning away from fin-clipping does not promote conservation, either, but rather is hiding the problem.
Hatchery fish are for consumption and sport fishing. These fish, in a sense, can be seen as an invasive species. They compete with wild fish for resources and limit genetic variance when spawning with wild fish. We therefore need distinction between hatchery and wild fish to know which we can keep and which we need to release when fishing for them.
Handling fish may cause harm, stress and even death, so more strict guidelines should be put in place such as barbless, single-point hooks. Restoration groups should continue to be funded for their work to promote healthy spawning habitat for salmon. This, I believe, is key to conserving and growing the wild salmon population while simultaneously fading out hatchery fish. Only then will ESA be lifted and everyone can enjoy fishing for salmon — however, it will take quite some time for these populations to grow, once habitat has been restored. Ruling out fin-clipping will only allow for a better quota of retention of salmon, but fail to address the real problem: the diminishing wild salmon population.