Steelhead DollarsLetter by Justin Vitley
Boise Weekly, December 16, 1999
As someone who is employed by the Idaho fishing industry, I have been watching the turn of events surrounding salmon and steelhead and the four Lower Snake River dams with keen interest.
Recently the National (Marine) Fisheries Service released a document referred to as the "Four-H working paper" that outlines the choices that this region must make regarding salmon recovery. Among other things, it seems to suggest a very disturbing option for recovery: the phasing out of the Idaho hatchery program.
Make no mistake, I agree hatchery fish have affected wild fish populations adveresely in many respects and that the conservation of genetic resources is important, but without these hatchery fish spots fishing in this region will suffer dramatically. Ninety million dollars would be lost in Idaho alone.
The most relevant suggestion mentioned in the paper regards partial removal of the dams, an action that makes the most sense for all Idahoans, especially those of us who feed our families with steelhead dollars.
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