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Roots of Salmon Crisis Revealed

There are a lot of hands being thrown up into the air by public officials this month, moaning that they have "tried everything" and that there is "simply nothing left to do" about the salmon crisis, other than to kill sea lions.
However, as these pictures (taken this morning) reveal, the roots of the salmon crisis are much more shallow than these officials might think. Indeed, this crisis could easily have been addressed without bloodshed, if only those who pretend to care for salmon were actually willing to make the necessary (though bloodless) sacrifices that this crisis is really going to take. As long as nets like these are prowling the waters, the fish will continue to disappear from Cascadian rivers.

Those of us who care about the salmon, and the bio-region in which we live, need to be very, very concerned about these nets. They are the dangerous predators of Cascadia, wiping out all the salmon. And they are the ones that need to be removed from the river and the ocean. If we think we can manage this system by removing the natural predators and leaving the exotic, invasive, human predators with free reign, we are egregiously mistaken.

The rest of the pics 22.Mar.2008 21:58


As long as we tolerate this, we will have to come up with stupider and stupider plans with more and more casualties to pretend that we are doing something to "save" the salmon.

Great photos... but never simplify an extinction 22.Mar.2008 22:52

Joe Rowe

Great photos. A location, and some details would make them even better.

Fishing alone has not driven Salmon to extinction.

just a few more causes:
Dams, Logging, Roads, cities, pharmaceuticals, GE food, farming chemicals, lobbyists, etc

Everyone should spend 10 seconds to start reading
this report by a few high school students.

The beauty of young writers is they have not yet learned how to be biased or condescending.....

"In the 1890's many rivers were used to transport logs (University of Oregon,1995). During this process, many foresters constructed a dam and then filled the river with logs until no more room existed. When this point was reached, the dam was destroyed, causing a large rush of logs to flow down the river. These logs in turn decimated all the salmon in their path as well as changing stream and river dynamics. The logs removed spawning gravel, altered stream channels, and destroyed riverbank vegetation. This practice continued well into the 1950's and 1960's."

Included in "etc." and worth mentioning 23.Mar.2008 02:51


Rural development east of the Cascades (basin wide), activities that increasingly suck out groundwater that would otherwise extend instream flows and healthy water temperatures in spawning and rearing tributaries to larger streams, nibble away at the survival of native runs.

The insatiable demand for irrigation water, always more needed for evermore conversion of land in the watersheds to agriculture, and the steady migration of residential "settlers" onto suburban and rural acreage, each needing a well, incrementally add up to less ground water (subsurface aquifers, recharged during annual wet seasons, and slowly released into stream beds, at deep ground temperatures of around 55F after the wet season ends) getting into the streams at lower elevations.

As grazing and land-draining practices (historical and yet on-going) isolate small streams and headwaters from higher elevation wetlands and floodplains, the benefit of storage of wet season largess in those areas adjacent to the main channels, slowly released into surface waters as the dry season progresses, render spawning and rearing habitat depleted of healthy conditions and water earlier in the dry season than occurred before land use conversions. Once functioning aquatic habitat now becomes a "river" of dry, hot rocks and gravels during the driest times of the year.

There is no "big smoking gun", just a lot of little sputters, growing in numbers day after day, year after year . . . sort of like all of the little metal pods, tooling around the highways and byways, powered by little thermal energy transforming reactors, in a 24/7 mass global conversion of hydrocarbons to gases going toward changing the chemical composition of the planet's atmosphere, no one of which is volcanically doing it alone.

There is no "green" solution enabling the status quo (H. sapiens' species-centric "growth" of civilization) without the end of wild stocks of anadromous fishes and ending simply with captive breeding. This pretty much goes for what's left of wild species in general, but most of us probably won't see it as the norm. It's only just begun to happen over the past 50 or so years.

Mistaken 23.Mar.2008 06:55


Aloha Rio

You are mistaken about this. Those are trawlers, they don't catch salmon. They fish to deep. If you want to learn about the issue causing salmon declines, I suggest you read "Salmon without rivers". The reason I believe salmon are in decline is habitat loss, through logging, dams, agriculture, and urbanization.

I guess the point... 23.Mar.2008 08:40


Is that sea lions are not to blame.

Obvious to you and to me, but not to the mindless masses.

(But... where this "young writers" assumption? Kinda weird.)

Salmon Crisis 23.Mar.2008 08:42


Yes, salmon without rivers is an EXCELLENT book! A very good resource.

But you are mistaken that these trawlers are not catching salmon, as well as any other fish or marine mammal that happens into their grasp. They are. But yes, Salmon Without Rivers is an awesome resource for anyone who cares to dig into the facts and move past the hysteria over sea lions.

Those aren't salmon boats 23.Mar.2008 10:20


I've done commercial salmon fishing. Currently there are 2 types of gear allowed for commercial salmon fishing in Oregon. There is a gillnet fishery in the lower Columbia, and there is a trolling fishery for ocean caught salmon.

None of these pictures show trolling or gillnetting gear. These boats may catch some limited number of salmon, but not in significant numbers.

I'm not saying overfishing isn't a problem, simply that you're looking at the wrong boats to blame for that particular species. Taken as a whole, I see habitat destruction as a much more serious problem than salmon fishing. Supporting salmon fishing as an industry also necessitates restoration of habitat to continue to be viable, giving environmentalists a strong economic argument as well. You know how it works, people listen to arguments for jobs.

Trawlers 23.Mar.2008 10:48


Trawlers do catch an occasional salmon, but that is like blaming hawks for the extinction of the passenger pidgeon. Yeah they are responsible for the deaths of a few salmon, but it is not even close the the damage done by other factors. Gillnets are a different story.

Trawlers DO catch salmon 07.Apr.2008 17:56

Real scoop

I don't know where the above comments came from, saying that trawlers aren't catching salmon?! Trawlers most certainly DO catch salmon, and LOTS of them. They are, in fact, being singled out for blame in the salmon crash off the California coast. Here is a link to one article (you can find MANY others) in which this is explicitly spelled out. Trawlers don't catch salmon? WTF???

Read this for some information.  http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/07/salmon.collapse.ap/index.html