Monday, April 28, 2008

Salmon Fishing

The struggle between having optimal conditions for salmon while maintaining optimal conditions for the human communities that also depend upon a stable supply of water requires using technology in partnership with nature.

On the American River, the demands of the growing communities that need its water require creating additional supply to ensure the salmon have the proper water flow and temperature to ensure optimal spawning.

From our perspective that calls for the building of the Auburn Dam as the only option (short of the unrealistic one of abandoning regional growth) as the only technology able to provide cold water at the right flow, while providing a stable water supply for the region.

A huge bonus is 500 year flood protection.

Dave Bitts: A fisherman’s view of the salmon crisis
By Dave Bitts - Special to The Bee
Published 12:00 am PDT Monday, April 28, 2008

I wanted to become a salmon fisherman the first time I saw boats trolling around Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg as a kid. I have always approached this business with the attitude that we must leave the salmon fishery in good shape for the next generation.

Now, I worry whether we will leave our children and grandchildren any salmon at all. We've abused our rivers to the point that the fish are on the verge of permanently vanishing. Commercial and recreational fishermen, ice houses, fuel docks, boat yards, gear stores and other businesses could disappear along with the salmon.

Faced with a predicted salmon run in the Sacramento River of only half the minimum needed number of spawners, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council closed all commercial and recreational salmon fishing in California and Oregon and imposed significant restrictions in Washington. It's probably the right thing to do in these circumstances, but they took away my livelihood in one fell swoop. I had hoped I would add to my retirement this summer, not deplete it.

California trollers make most of our income from salmon. This is the third dismal salmon season in a row, coming on the heels of two mediocre crab seasons that would normally help offset the loss of salmon income. Many of us won't survive this disaster without significant help – and big changes in the way we treat rivers.

It's easy to fault ocean conditions for the salmon crisis, since we can't control the marine environment and no single entity can be held accountable.