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Opinion
The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
 

Letter: Salmon are losing out

By Larry Carey, VANCOUVER
Published: June 11, 2024, 6:00am

Salmon are running down. Wild fish management discrediting hatchery bloodlines are the first problem. Wild and hatchery companions for generations blended out purity. Wild fish diversity got messy. Where river or streams want wild only, hatchery uncontrollable strays spawn. Mixed schools of natural salmon dominate today. Management curtails the future when uncontrollable wild and hatchery spawning lost abundance, picking selectively, now climate losers.

In 1980, Cowlitz River Spring Chinook egg-take was 30 million. Current egg-take goal of 2.8 million, is rarely met. In 2023, it was 2,149,203 – 750,000 too low already. Chambers Creek Steelhead (Cowlitz) eliminations – more devastation. Harvesting goal for Cowlitz winter steelhead was 15,400 then. Hatchery return for winter steelhead last year was 3,258 using special interest/federal directions. Reliance to Cowlitz stocks turned six months of robust fishing into two months of combative fishing – one small space or catching little.

Salmon commercial sales established smaller fish. FYI, pinnipeds eat six times more salmon than harvesting, twice what orcas eat. Natural, huh? Wow! Pathetically, we added more dysfunction. More fish? More predators? Yes! Salmon, no.

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