Stop Using Netsby Jerry DeVore
Idaho Statesman, February 13, 2007
In the '50s, I attended UW, rowed on crew and financed my studies by commercial salmon fishing. They restored the salmon fishery on Lake Washington from a few hundred sockeye a year to more than 15 million spawning a year in the '70s. We had huge salmon runs on most of the Washington rivers, including the Columbia, until one major event occurred: The courts ruled that fish could be taken in the rivers by nets.
The Lake Washington sockeye run is nearly non-existent, and rivers that had large runs of salmon now are barren. One needs only to look at the nets spread across the rivers and understand the true reason for no fish.
If we approached a spawning stream with our nets in the '50s, it was jail and fine time, and the rules were strictly enforced. I have even witnessed salmon being netted within 50 feet of an Idaho hatchery with absolute waste and legal impunity.
No, there could be a complete absence of dams and still no restoration of fish if we do not address the criminal waste and abuse of the resource by certain privileged people.
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