California Salmon Fishing To Be Restricted

An AP article relates that regulators in California have voted to restrict the salmon fishing season along 700 miles of coastline to help preserve the Klamath River salmon population. As usual, commercial fishermen as protesting, trying to convince regulators that exploitation should continue as usual.

Here’s a caption to an accompanying photo:

Bill Waterhouse joins more than 200 other sport and commercial fishermen and supporters, protesting the proposed closure of salmon fishing off the California coast, during a rally in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, April 4, 2006. The Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering closing 700 miles of coastline from salmon fishing in an effort to boost the chinook salmon populations on Klamath River. Opponents of the closure claim the shrinking salmon population is caused by poor water management and not over fishing. They also say the closure would hurt not only fishermen, but boat operators, bait shops, and tackle manufacturers. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In the photo, Waterhouse is holding up a sign that reads, “[pics of river with dead fish] The Klamath River Salmon Kills are caused by Low Water and In-River Conditions! [pic of dock being sealed] Why would anyone think that this is a solution?”

No, Mr. Waterhouse, restricting the fishing season is not a solution. I doubt anyone did think it was. That, though, is not the point. The Klamath River salmon population is in trouble. The river’s conditions are bad, therefore the productivity of the river is reduced. Other things that can make further reductions in productivity include, for example, fewer adult salmon making their way up the Klamath River to breed. What could possibly cause “fewer adult salmon”? For some odd reason, Mr. Waterhouse, the PFMC thinks that fishing means that adult salmon end up on a plate accompanied by garlic butter or maybe a pesto sauce, and some of those fish (who are making me hungry now) would actually be part of the Klamath River population, and therefore be unable to make their previously scheduled appointment for this year’s chance at a bit of dalliance way up the Klamath River*. Yes, it is disturbing that what happens elsewhere that you had no direct part in should cause economic hardship for you. That still doesn’t change the facts on the ground. You probably don’t like the increase in gasoline prices; are you protesting the government’s decisions on the grounds that what goes on in the Mideast should not affect you here?

* The steelhead salmon of the Klamath River are a bit different in that they are iteroparous, which means that they have more than one breeding season in their life. So adults try to make it back to the ocean after breeding, meaning that in the Klamath River they have to deal with the poor conditions on a two-way journey.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

12 thoughts on “California Salmon Fishing To Be Restricted

  • 2006/04/08 at 8:12 pm
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    This is an non-logical argument. You concede that the problem is not the fishing, then, you say, stop fishing anyway. Banning fishing is not going to save the salmon, and if you want to do so, then fix the river. At the end of the day, all you are interested in is half assed and symbolic gestures designed to make you feel good and do little else.

  • 2006/04/08 at 9:30 pm
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    I do not concede that there is one “the problem” to assign blame to. The point is to manage the Klamath River salmon population, and doing that now appears to require protecting the remaining adult population. The argument is grounded in solid principles of animal population dynamics. I’ve studied those. It’s really quite straightforward, and goes precisely as I have related above. The PFMC seems to have people who know about that field of knowledge, too. This is not “symbolic”. Whether it is “half-assed” is another matter; I don’t seem to recall that terminology in my undergraduate zoology or graduate wildlife and fisheries programs. I would tend to agree that protecting the adult age classes is a step that should have been taken much sooner, though somehow I doubt that is precisely what Todd was thinking.

  • 2006/05/05 at 1:24 pm
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    fishing is awesome and the stupid PETA people are dumb and retarted. we r all animals and if u take out one of the animals in the system then you throw the system out of whack…PETA is gay

  • 2006/05/17 at 11:53 am
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    If the river is in bad shape and needs 5 or 10 years to rebuild.Then thre should nto be any fishing period.We should not let short term fishing distroy a species that has been around forever!I learned how to fish when I was 5 I am now 44 and have fished salmon in these areas.We need to learn from the past,first let’s fix what’s broken,then when it is fixed we can talk about opening up fishing again!!!!

  • 2006/10/29 at 12:09 pm
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    Certainly banning fishing could allow more adults up the river to breed – however, if the conditions of the river, and their cause/s, are the SAME then you will still see 70,000 fish dead on the banks who will never spawn – nor return …reducing production.

    Banning fishing simply to allow more adult fish up the river/s to die of the same “other” primary reducers goes beyond “half assed” ‘stay the course’ incompetance.

    Which is precisely “the point.”

  • 2006/10/29 at 2:11 pm
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    Maybe that’s why my paragraph started with, “No, Mr. Waterhouse, restricting the fishing season is not a solution. I doubt anyone did think it was. That, though, is not the point.” There has to be more to the response than banning fishing for the adults for it to be a solution, just as I said in the opening post.

    Incompetence could also come in the form of cleaning up problems in the river basin and then lamenting that there apparently are no longer any adult salmon to use the river, having been served up on plates already. The “they’re just going to die anyway, we may as well eat them all now” response is no great shakes in the intelligent approach to wildlife management stakes. The problems in the river basin need to be addressed, and sufficient population of the stocks in question have to be preserved. These both have to happen to get where we want to be.

  • 2006/10/30 at 1:41 pm
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    Yes, I did see how you started off that particular paragraph – but your statement quickly became entangled, and lost, in what appears as a loaded cart before the assauged horse.

    I suppose what I felt reading your arguments in retrospect was not a particular bias but rather an opinion that seemed “non-logical” as someone above stated.

    What prompted you to respond and write your opinion here on this subject to begin with?

    Certainly your argument was more precisely aimed at, and prompted by, this Mr. Waterhouse who apparently was viewed in your opinion as a poster boy [[pics of river with dead fish]] for ‘protesting fishermen’ and their ‘explotation’ of ‘plated’ salmon who would not make it up the river to reproduce, thus producing “fewer salmon”.

    If one follows your reasoning one could understand that if less fish are taken then more fish will get upriver. One could understand a ban if the declining salmon populations were due to over fishing.

    …” Other things that can make further reductions in productivity include, for example, fewer adult salmon making their way up the Klamath River to breed. What could possibly cause “fewer adult salmon”?

    See in context, your last sentence sounds facsious. Thus non-objective.

    We could argue that because the population is already in trouble that to allow fishing means less fish upriver and thus a continuing decline.

    However, and this is the crux, if salmon get upriver only to die before they can reproduce then banning fishing for the next 100 years will never solve “the problem”. The decline will continue because of conditions in the river and not because of explotation of my butter splattered dinner plate.

    Sir, we do seem to be saying the same things at times, yet you seem to be addressing the fishermen’s greedy plate first, and the river’s incubation second.

    I hardly think very many people think, “they’re gona die anyway”, so, what’s the problem?

    What people want is a ‘solution’ that makes sense!

    If- fewer fish spawned 2-3 years ago due to dieing in poor river conditions it stands to reason that “fewer adult salmon” will return.

    The salmon that make it and actualy reproduce will die, yes.(btw, Pacific salmon are NOT iteroparous (as Atlantic salmon are).
    I won’t argue semantics that “under certain conditions “some” could. Very few could according to references.) But what of their young? These young remain in the river for up to a year before making the journey to the Ocean. If these young die in the river the population will continue to decline.

    Not being able to distinguish a ‘sacramento’ river bound salmon from a klamath river salmon is not the problem. Allowing more klamath salmon up the klamath river to preserve the species is not the ‘solution’.
    You came off as ‘biased’ against proponents of river management rather than agreeing with an itelligent way to eliminate this vicious circle.

    So, or rather, your premise to save the species by degree is ass-backwards, even thouigh you do continue to reiterate, or lament, a position for both to be addressed. You at once began to build a case against Mr. Waterman, by stating ‘his point’ is not “the point”, for showing what has occurred in the river as some boo-hoo hardship upon him rather agreeing with his position that the problem begins in the river and it’s management. Not logical. The salmon will continue to die anyway. Not from fishermen, not from explotation,(at this time) not from an attitude that, oh well, they’ll die anyway, but from river conditions being shown to represenatives that could make a difference and produce the changes needed.

    Let’s make sure there are plenty of salmon getting upriver (to not reproduce) by closing down the coast so we appear to be preserving the species. Illogical. Ass-backwards.

    jmo

  • 2006/10/30 at 4:38 pm
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    Jas’s use of “illogical” appears to be simple projection. The use of rhetorical aids does not imply that the content of an argument is in any sense “non-objective”. Nor does Jas have the basic facts straight, as in his aside that Pacific salmon are not iteroparous. As I stated, it is the steelhead of the Klamath that is iteroparous. I never stated that Pacific salmon were not semelparous.

    What is illogical is the insistence that I am somehow “biased” against “river management”. Stock management will require amelioration to provide for full life-cycle productivity, which will include spawning grounds, nursery areas, and the adult niche. For steelhead of the Klamath, that includes improving the river environment used for spawning and nursery. I never said otherwise. This will be tough, because improvement in the river is tied closely to water distribution policy, which pits the interests of regional farmers against those of fishermen. But stock management also includes protecting what adult stock remains, which seems to throw some people into a tizzy whenever it gets mentioned or happens. Not restricting take on adults of a threatened population is non-productive, quite literally.

  • 2006/10/30 at 5:12 pm
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    …”The steelhead salmon of the Klamath River are a bit different in that they are iteroparous,”…

    Obviously, I would say you definetly DID say that salmon are iteroparous in your above statement – unless you would now say that steelhead are also salmon. (and here I thought you merely left a comma out :)

    One can’t argue/debate/ with someone who even denies their own words – so there is no more sense to be made here at your site.

  • 2006/10/30 at 9:06 pm
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    I’m not the one having to dance around inconvenient stuff. Why would I want to deny what is true? Have a look at the National Marine Fisheries Service page on Steelhead Salmon. It also states that they are iteroparous. Steelhead salmon are salmonids, the same genus, Oncorhynchus, includes many other salmon species.

    If all you’ve got is an argument over use of common names, that really isn’t going to do much to help you overcome the problem of having to face the simple fact that recovery of Klamath steelhead salmon will require good stock management, not simply and exclusively changes to river management. That includes protecting the adult population.

  • 2006/10/31 at 1:02 am
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    hahah
    again u mix apples n oranges –
    Read what you referenced – this reference of ‘steelhead salmon” is for a STEELHEAD, NOT a salmon – and steelhead are YES iteroparous and, yes, some references say the same genus.
    A steelhead however is not a salmon but a TROUT that goes to the sea.
    Do i have to give those references and links, or can you look that up too?
    It is you who is mixing Trout and salmon and dancing.
    Is it “steelhead salmon” (sic – trout) that you have been refering too in your much descriptive “point”, or is it a salmon? Because the actual articles “point” was a restriction on SALMON fishing and not the steelhead fishy on some dinner plate that you describe provided by the protesting… commercial fishermen trying to convince regulators to let them continue “exploitation as usual”.
    Your words- exploitation as usual- your bias.

    I repeat i see that you are also stating that all of the issues must be addressed for the salmon AND THE steelhead, or your “steelhead salmon”, but you’ve also made it quite clear that exploitive commercial fishermen are the root of the adult demise and presented it as your main course which must be ate first.[“[pics of river with dead fish]]
    To protect the adult population one has to address the river.
    IF- the river is healthy and banning is required the salmon survive and thrive. Non issue.
    If the river is alive, banning won’t be required.
    If the river is dead, and you fix the fishermen, all of your adults die sooner and later.
    Your biased solution is an eventual ‘final solution’.

  • 2006/11/01 at 9:00 am
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    Apples are in order Rosales, and oranges are in order Sapindales, having diverged at least 80 million years ago. Oncorhyncid salmonids, including chinook, chum, and steelhead, are far more recent, having a monophyletic grouping with all within group divergence taking place within the last twenty million years. Like I said before, arguing over what common name applies isn´t of much use in referring to stock management.

    I have to admit that the digression over the common name of steelhead salmon, having taken place so long after the opening post, did confuse me a bit. The original news article clearly states that the primary concern of the regulators was the chinook salmon. The same principles of stock management apply in either case, though.

    The fact of the matter is that binary thinking of the sort Jas prefers, ¨river is alive, river is dead¨, is also not terribly useful. Rivers do have states of reduced productivity that are nonetheless not best described as ¨dead¨. Stock management, as I said before, needs to protect all phases of the life cycle. Some people just don´t want to admit that that includes the adults out in the ocean. And I think that that will be where this thread closes.

Comments are closed.