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Commentaries and editorials

Speak Up for Salmon

by Cheryl Johnson & Ted Messing
The Daily Astorian, April 8, 2006

Salmon and those who earn their living by catching them, have a special place in the history, culture and consciousness of the Pacific Northwest. "Salmon are honored and celebrated by all coastal peoples: The fish serves as a powerful symbol of regeneration, self-sacrifice and perseverance. Shortages of Salmon are traditionally attributed to human disrespect and refusal to listen to and live by the wisdom of the elders." ("Understanding Northwest Coast Art," by Cheryl Shearar).

Our federal government's newest "salmon policy" is the ultimate disrespect. It proposes to reduce or eliminate commercial and recreational fishing as a means to halt the further decline of the salmon. We have known for some time that dams kill up to 90 percent of the young salmon as they travel down the Columbia and Snake rivers on their way to the ocean. But our government demonstrates their "refusal to listen" by blaming the fishermen instead of removing four costly and out-dated dams on the lower Snake. The federal government is also promoting the industrialization of lower Columbia estuary, which will further destroy important salmon habitat.

Speak up and speak out, let our elected officials know that healthy rivers mean healthy communities. Fisherman are not the problem, they are part of our history, our economy, our culture.

Cheryl Johnson and Ted Messing, estuary coordinators, Columbia Riverkeeper
Speak Up for Salmon
The Daily Astorian, April 7, 2006

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