Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Letter: We must become climate activists


By now it’s obvious, saving climate from catastrophe means saving salmon from catastrophe.

Ocean seasons in 2016 for coho will be low quota, or none in some areas, since unusually warm north Pacific waters are making life difficult, reportedly reducing fish size by half in places and seriously threatening returns. I recall last summer the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon up low rivers to spawn, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon out of Central Oregon due to warm waters, and California trucked smolts to the ocean.

Columbia Riverkeeper reported, “Scientists estimate that more than 277,000 sockeye, about 55 percent of the total run, returning from the ocean to spawn died in the Columbia and Snake rivers due to warm water temperatures in 2015.” Courtney Flatt, of Northwest Public Radio, reported “fisheries biologists … expected (2015) to be largest Snake River sockeye run in more than 40 years” but “90 percent of Snake River sockeye died before reaching first Snake River dam.”

For a visual historical perspective, contrast Columbia Riverkeeper’s 2015 “Hot Water Crisis on the Columbia” photos of rotting and diseased salmon with a 1933 video of fishing at Celilo Falls.

Supporting locally, and globally, would be good places to start.

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