Sunday, March 26, 2006

Anglers upset over salmon

I was sent this press release about a meeting on Tuesday in Santa Rosa. It may not appear connected to the 11th CD race at all. However, fishermen, both recreational and commercial are very upset. For some, this will put them out of business. They blame it all on the Republican Congress and their manipulation of water rights on the Klamath, delivered to pototo farmers in the Klamath Basin and causing a large kill off of salmon in the Klamath. This was orchestrated by Karl Rove and has been supported since 2002 by Richard Pombo. The fisthermen know this.

The question is one of how best to use this information to knock out Pombo. I know of some who are going to make it a point to vote for McCloskey in the primary, the first opportunity to Dump Pombo. I know that the leader of one of the groups is going to re-register in order to do that.

So, how many fishing licenses are sold in the 11th CD? Well, I know that Fish Sniffer magazine claims to have a circulation of 25,000 in the Central Valley.

P R E S S R E L E A S E

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA)
Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishing Association (SBSFA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2006

For more information:

Mike Hudson, President Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishing Association,

(510) 528-6575 (h), (510) 407-0046 Email: mike@sbcsfa.com

FISHERMEN DEMAND REAL SOLUTIONS
TO KLAMATH SALMON DECLINES

Fishermen Will Stage Rally At Santa Rosa Pacific Fisheries Management Council Meeting, Cite Dam Removal As Part Of Klamath Solution

Santa Rosa, CA -- Fishermen are rallying on March 28 in Santa Rosa to demand real and permanent solutions to Klamath salmon declines. At Tuesday's Santa Rosa meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC), dozens of fishermen, Native and non-Native, will rally to support restoration of the Klamath River so that it can once again support abundant fisheries. The rally begins at 5 p.m. at the Flamingo Hotel, 2777 4th St., Santa Rosa, CA.

Despite large over-all west coast numbers of chinook salmon, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) is considering a total ban on ocean commercial salmon fishing for 2006 for California and most of Oregon. That's because of extremely low numbers of Klamath River salmon, which intermingle with otherwise abundant stocks in the ocean. According to David Goldenberg, Manager of the California Salmon Council, Fisheries managers must manage all fisheries to protect the weakest runs.

For the second year in a row, weak runs of Klamath salmon will result in fishing restrictions all up and down California, this year far worse than last. Last year the salmon industry suffered severe fishing restrictions that cost the California and Oregon economies over $50 million in economic losses. If the season is cancelled altogether, the losses in 2006 could exceed $150 million.

Most fisheries experts agree that over fishing is not the problem. Ocean and in-river salmon harvests are already tightly regulated, and salmon are doing well in other nearby river systems. The problems in the Klamath are therefore in the river.

"Fishermen are being unfairly targeted. If you want to know why the Klamath salmon are struggling, look upstream to the dams that are killing this river," said Joseph Bogaard of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition.

Currently, fishermen and Tribes are focusing their attention on the antiquated complex of dams owned by Portland-based utility PacifiCorp. The dams have no fish ladders and so block over 350 miles of historic salmon spawning habitat, but also foster massive blooms of a toxic algae that produces powerful water-borne poisons that cause liver damage in humans and poison fish. The Klamath dams also block natural river flows, collect water in reservoirs where it heats up too much for salmon to tolerate, and creates ideal conditions which encourage the growth of warm water parasites that are fatal to juvenile salmon. Major juvenile salmon kills are now all too common in the river.

These dams are currently up for relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a decision on their fate must be made by early 2007. Although river advocates admit the Klamath suffers from many complex problems, the dams clearly have a major impact on deteriorating water quality. According to Karuk dip net fishermen Ron Reed, because of the dams half the river is now off limits to salmon. Their removal must be part of the solution. Since dams are relicensed only once every 50 years, fishermen and Tribes see the current relicensing as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore the river.

"As fishermen, we have already sacrificed a lot. We are simply asking that others across the region step up to do their part as well, and that means looking at all options including removing the lower Klamath river dams to develop real salmon solutions that don't put the full burden of recovery on the backs of fishing families," stated Mike Hudson of the Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermen's Association (SBCSFA).

Currently fishermen, Tribes, conservation groups, farmers and agencies are discussing the fate of these dams as part of a federally mandated relicensing process. The survival of the Klamath may hinge on these negotiations. According to Glen Spain, Northwest Regional Director of PCFFA, "The four small dams we need to remove don't do anything well -- except kill salmon. They are not used for irrigation, they provide almost no flood control, and they are poor power producers. Removing them makes the most sense for bringing this dying river back to health."

Zeke Grader, Executive Director of PCFFA, also said its critical for there to be some fishing this year to maintain the infrastructure of this nearly billion dollar salmon fishery in the two states, and that an aggressive program should be implemented immediately in the river to protect the fish against the deadly parasite that continues to spread, until the long-term fixes in the basin can be made.

"Chief among those long-term fixes," said Grader, "is the removal of the four dams. We cannot continue to give power companies free reign over our rivers. It is costing fishing families their livelihoods and destroying salmon dependant Tribal cultures. It's time we fought back and held PacifiCorp accountable for the damage they have caused."

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