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Commentaries and editorials

Fishing Generates Income

by Jim Harmon
The Columbian, June 14, 2006

Former Idaho Gov. and Jimmy Carter administration Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus releases a hatchery-reared sockeye salmon at Redfish Lake in the early 1990s. (1994 Idaho Mountain Express - Willy Cook) Association of Washington Business President Don Brunell's recent column, "Breaching Snake dams will hurt economy," repeated a few myths that I thought had died years ago. I was shocked to read he thinks taking action to recover salmon and steelhead is bad for our local economy.

I know that's not true because I see how much money the owners of my local tackle shop make in a bumper year. Add those guys to all the tackle shops, hotels, marinas, boat-launch facilities and small businesses that are fueled by recreational fishing in the lower river, and you've got a moneymaker that generates millions of dollars annually for Southwest Washington. And that represents just a fraction of the income that could be consistently generated by a restored fishery.

We're not going to reach the recovery goal by ignoring the biggest killer of our fish: dams. It would cost much less in the long run for taxpayers and electricity ratepayers to take out the four obsolete dams in the lower Snake than today's failed but costly salmon plan that includes trucking and barging.

Jim Harmon, Vancouver, Washington
Fishing Generates Income
The Columbian, June 14, 2006

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