[env-trinity] SF Chronicle Editorial July 3

Byron bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Jul 3 08:57:14 PDT 2006

 <http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/> San Francisco Chronicle



Fishing industry gets skunked

Monday, July 3, 2006

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SALMON DON'T need "the Katrina treatment.'' Yet that's what the fish -- and
the fleets that catch them -- are getting from neglectful federal

After a disastrous job overseeing fish stocks on the Klamath River,
Washington has compounded the problem by refusing aid to hard-hit commercial
fisherman from Oregon to central California. Sacramento has stepped in with
$35 million in funds, while federal officials have dodged and quibbled on
the topic. 

The feds are fumbling away a problem that comes with reasonable solutions.
After 33,000 salmon died because of diverted Klamath water in 2002, it was
clear that returning schools would be approaching the vanishing point. 

Step one was taken in April: a severely limited fishing season on all salmon
catches off the coast. Because salmon from healthy rivers swim with the
depleted stocks of Klamath fish, it was necessary to restrict all
fish-catching along a 700-mile stretch of coastline. The number handed to
scores of small operators was 75 fish per week for a drastically shortened
season. This cut foretold bankruptcy for many boat operators who endured a
short season last year. 

Step two should be financial aid to tide over a $100 million per year
industry. Suppliers, marina operators and other wharf businesses from Coos
Bay to San Luis Obispo will feel the pain unless grants or low-cost loans
are forthcoming. 

Finally, it's clear that Washington, which controls water diversions,
logging practices and dam releases along the Klamath, needs to live up to
its responsibilities in preserving salmon from further losses. It can be
done. Sacramento River salmon are thriving in the watershed next door after
their numbers took a scary drop. 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bipartisan group of Northern California
legislators are backing a $35 million salmon bailout to the fishing
industry. It's the right response. 

In Washington, a team of Oregon and California congressional members have
pried loose a down payment of $2 million as a step toward $81 million in
aid. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, who oversees a key
fish-monitoring agency, has promised to review the matter. 

The pressure could be building for a new direction that will help salmon and
the fishing industry that depends on their healthy numbers. It's not too
late to have both thriving again.



Byron Leydecker

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

Advisor, California Trout, Inc

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 ph

415 383 9562 fx

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org





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