Letter: Consumers rely on commercial catch



The Dec. 15 Columbian online story “Angling groups: Budget shift a betrayal” was one-sided.

Ed Wickersham, a Coastal Conservation Association representative, stated “Recreational users have demonstrated we will do our best to pay for our impacts.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to Washington Fish & Wildlife, in 2009, sport fishers, who are but a minute segment of the populations of Washington and Oregon, harvested over 80 percent of the non-tribal share of the prize Columbia River spring Chinook salmon. Commercial fishers harvested less than 20 percent.

The vast majority of people who do not sport fish rely on commercial fishers to make salmon available in fish markets, grocery stores and restaurants.

Commercial fishers pay a tax on their catch. In contrast, for the price of a salmon fishing license and any fees, sport fishers can fish unlimited times during a season.

Big game hunters must buy a license and are limited to taking one animal.

People who cut firewood on state land must buy a permit and are limited on quantity.

Farmers must also pay for water usage and ranchers pay to graze livestock on public lands.

Restricting commercial fishers to less productive fishing areas and giving millions of dollars worth of a public resource to sport fishers essentially for free is backward management.

John Jovanovich