So Much for co-Existenceby Brett Haverstick
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, October 8, 2018
A paltry 10,000 wild steelhead are expected to return to the basin in 2018. After 20 years
of taxpayer-funded expenditures and mitigation, recovery goals are short 80,000 fish.
The Idaho Department Fish and Game just slashed the catch-and-keep bag limit on the Clearwater River to one hatchery steelhead per day. The one fish limit was already in place on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. The bag limit for anglers on these rivers is usually three hatchery fish per day.
The reason for reducing bag limits for hatchery fish by two-thirds is because steelhead populations continue to plummet. Fisheries managers are predicting that only one-third of the 10-year average (150,000) will make it past Lower Granite Dam this year. What was once the greatest steelhead fishery this side of Alaska has now been reduced to a measly 50,000 fish.
All wild steelhead, of course, must be released because they are in danger of going extinct. Snake River Basin Steelhead were listed in 1997 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Since then, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has set a recovery goal for wild steelhead at 90,000. A paltry 10,000 wild steelhead are expected to return to the basin in 2018. After 20 years of taxpayer-funded expenditures and mitigation, recovery goals are short 80,000 fish.
Idaho's once amazing steelhead fishery has been reduced to bag limits, size restrictions and closed stretches of rivers, and the federal government's recovery plan is leading to the extinction of wild fish. It's obvious fish and dams cannot co-exist. Let's breach the four lower Snake River dams and restore Idaho's fish.
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