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.