When cows were drinking in our streams and logging was going on there were all kinds of fish. But now, Chinook and coho returns continue to decline — below 6 percent of what they were — as varied local integration organizations seek funding for varied riparian and in-stream rehabilitation.
But, what’s really happened to our upstream spawners? How about globalization and intensified saturation fishing offshore? How about consumption of their smolt by larger hatchery fish, plus biological degradations due to both hatchery and escaped farm fish?
Learning from what happened in the Atlantic off Greenland, A “Salish Salmonid Recovery Plan,” I believe we must first and foremost, must prohibit seining and gill-netting 12 to 200 miles south of Alaska, allow no hatcheries or salmon farms. And, commercial and tribal fishers at river mouths, only.
Coast Guard cutters, surveillance and hatchery and salmon farm shutdowns, in other words, with big spending for riparian and in-stream rehabilitation on hold until king and silver returns are way back up! Volunteer river watchers, county-sponsored pollution testing and some habitat improvements by local volunteer organizations will be more sensible, economically, until remnant whales, due to no pinging sonars, also are back cycling bottom nutrients upward into the mouths of Salish salmon whose carcasses again nourish Salish rivers, streams, birds, foraging animals, and land — plus insects their wild smolt eat!
Also, given a less than 17-foot bacterial spread per bovine defecation, cutbacks in farmland buffers and land trusts can be saving some of our cows and farms, as well.