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Commentaries and editorials

It's the Dams, Not the Fishing

by Gary T. Turner
Boise Weekly - November 4, 1999

Re the harvest of Snake River salmon and steelhead as a possible variable in the decilne of populations:

First, fishing industries, which only affect adult fish, are heavily restricted and responsible for only 7 percent of mortality caused by humans on wild fall Chinook. The remaining 93 percent of fish losses can be attributed to "hydrosystem effets" (i.e. dams).

Second, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states all fishing takes less than 2 percent of steelhead or spring/summer Chinook and that the dams are responsible for juvenile mortality rates of up to 80 percent. There has been no directed harvest on these fish since 1978 and 1964 respectively, yet they face extinction within two decades.

The dams kill young and old fish alike and are the real culprits when it comes to the decline of Snake River salmon. Harvest can hardly be blamed. Bypass the lower Snake River dams in southeast Washington.

by Gary T. Turner, Boise
It's the Dams, Not the Fishing
The Mail, Boise Weekly, November 4, 1999

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