the film
Commentaries and editorials

Circle of Life

by Robyn Carmichael
Seattle Times, November 30, 2007

Editor, The Times:

We all know the orcas of Puget Sound are on the brink of extinction. And now we all know they are endangered because they are starving. There are simply not enough adult chinook salmon returning to West Coast rivers to feed them ["At Entiat hatchery, coho are taking the place of chinook," Local News, Nov. 26]. Yet, up until now, solutions to this problem have been few and far between.

The recent announcement by six leading orca researchers that Puget Sound orca recovery is dependent on the recovery of our salmon runs, and in particular those of the Columbia and Snake rivers, has finally hit home.

No more salmon, no more orcas. It is as simple as that. Scientists also agree that removing the four lower Snake River dams is necessary for recovery of Snake River salmon. So it is no longer a question of "salmon or dams," now it is "salmon and orcas or dams."

What's next? It is time we rethink our policies and reconsider what matters to people of the Northwest. And we need to make these choices while we still have the chance to recover these iconic species. Prudent policy requires examination of all of the options and clearly dam removal needs to be one of them.

Kudos to these orca scientists for informing the debate.

Robyn Carmichael, Seattle
Circle of Life
Seattle Times, November 30, 2007

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