Environmental Activists And Their Editorialist Allies Boo-Hooing About Hatchery Salmon Policyby Elizabeth Shogren and Kenneth R. Weiss, Times Staff Writers
Glendale Oregon News, April 30, 2004
It was inevitable. Radical environmentalists made the ridiculous claim that hatchery salmon are different than wild salmon. They tried to make it stick by pursuing lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act. They lost. Now, they and their allies in the media are crying the blues. Poor babies.
The enviros' concept that a hatchery fish of the same species is biologically, or culturally, different than the wild fish that provided the eggs and sperm for the hatchery fish hatchling...has always been asinine.
Asinine?...yes. Expensive?...very. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured down the proverbial rat-hole as a result of lawsuits brought by the wild fish gang.
Just another example of the extremes that the environmental law firm industry (i.e. the environmental movement) has gone to in padding its own pockets with ESA awarded legal fees...and the extent to which the slow grinding of the American legal system has been manipulated to cause this wild fish travesty to go on far too long.
Thankfully, it's now over. Sanity is returning to salmon fish policy in the west.
The enviros and their media allies need to get used to it. The decision is in. Hatchery fish and wild fish of the same species both contribute to the acknowledged populations of salmon and steelhead for purposes of determining if their populations are threatened with extinction.
As might be expected, the wild fish gang is not willing to take their defeat gracefully. The latest surge of editorial comment and editorialized journalism smacks of the kind of bias that contributed to the wastage of an immense amount of time and money by governmental agencies and taxpayers who were whip-sawn by endless wild fish abuses caused by ESA lawsuits. Here are two examples of newsprint "journalism" that I think deserve to be yanked from the pages of these newspapers and tossed into their editorial sections.
"Bush Salmon Plan Criticized" - 4-30-2004 - Medford Mail Tribune
"Salmon Counting Change Sets Off Protests" - 4-30-2004 - Oregonian
These newsrags certainly have the right to express their opinions about this subject...but put those opinions where they belong...in the editorial pages.
The enviros weren't alone in pursuit of the wild fish fantasy. They had lots of help from government. In particular, Oregon government, past and present, made major contributions to the creation and nurturing of the asinine wild fish policies.
Right at the top of my list of wild fish wastrels is former Governor John Kitzhaber. This governor spent eight years in office pushing the radical environmental salmon agenda. What did he gain for the state? Economic disaster. Kitzhaber's fixation with saving un-threatened salmon ushered in a calamitous loss of timer industry jobs, countless costs for litigation expenses by resource based industries and an era of economically threatened Oregon communities.
Governor Kulongoski's natural resources advisor, Jim Myron, is right in there with the best of the Kitzhaber era. Myron was appointed by Kulongoski after working as a wild fish advocate for years as an employee of Oregon Trout, one of the prime movers behind wild fish initiatives in Oregon. Note Myron's continuing, prominent, public role in his latest musings in the Oregonian article above.
I've never made any bones about my position on this subject. And I'll put my conservation ethic up for comparison against any of the wild fish gang or latter day fish purists. As part of a four generation fly-fishing family, we've always practiced good conservation and good care for our environment. As for the wild fish baloney...it's simply that...baloney. Two of my previous editorials on this subject can be found by clicking on the following links:
To Adipose or Not to Adipose
Oregon's Coho Are Partying Tonight
Get out and enjoy fishing and eating west coast salmon. They're plentiful and they will continue to be plentiful as long as wild stocks of these fish are supplemented by hatchery fish of the same species. Let the enviros and their wild fish buddies eat crow. They're plentiful, too....
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