IFish Fishing Forum banner
  • Are you passionate about fishing? Would you like to write about topics that interest you and get paid for it? Read all about it here!
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, as predictable as the sun rising and setting, the doom and gloomers have struck again. Before I go any further, let me say that I am not anti-fish biologist. I feel that there is a place for good, solid science in our world, especially pertaining to our natural resources. I am not, however, easily convinced by those who preach doom and gloom for the sake of self-preservation. Yes, that is a harsh accusation, but in light of the current state of our fisheries, I think not inappropriate.

Today's article, "Lost habitat nutured salmon" illustrates my point. For the last 20 years or so, we have been told that our salmon are doomed, we cannot survive without them, they will become extinct and we will never see them again. So, here we are today, seeing some of the highest salmon counts ever recorded....and the biologists are sweating. Nature has proven them wrong once again. Don't misunderstand, there are some fine bioligists out there who base their conclusions on sound, scientific principles.

But why is it that the alarmists get all the face time in the press? Could you imagine if the Oregonian printed an article "The Columbia River Salmon Are Thriving" or "Could the Biologists Have Been Wrong?" or "We Have Been Duped!" Where are the voices of those biologists who conduct OBJECTIVE studies?

So, it seems to me that today's article describes continuing efforts of some alarmist biologists to create studies that will "prove" their theories. The article disusses lost habitat in the lower 25 mile reach of the CR, but it makes no mention of NEW habitat that has been created by the efforts of conservation groups, which undoubtedly has significantly contributed to the increased fish populations.

Ultimately, my point is this - every year that we have had excellent fish runs up the CR, the biologists continue to preach their doom and gloom - giving the general population a distorted picture of reality. These folks have gotten away with this far too long and they continue to get press time with their "junk sciene," attempting to justify their own existence. I guess we can hardly blame them - with both increased salmon returns and funding being threatened. I predict we'll see more of the same to follow soon.

ORS

[ 09-29-2003, 09:01 AM: Message edited by: OregonRedside ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Foxer - thank you, thank you, thank you!

Iahve been saying that for years!!!

ORS
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,726 Posts
When we see these sort of returns without 50 or more percent being of hatchery origin ($$$$$$!!!!), we may have hope of reading headlines such as those you notice are missing.
:hoboy:

There is a reason there were not Salmon bearing rivers that looked like the LA River before the development of the west. :shrug:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22,250 Posts
The whole point of the article (and this morning was the first I heard about that particular stretch of river) was about the loss of rearing habitat and...it specifically mentions...the potential for far greater runs if it were replaced.

The fact is we've had lots of articles about the big returns...habitat restoration is important, but remains insignificant compared with what once was...and, on the verge of even more dredging, it can't hurt to remind the corps that someone is watching...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
Wow, no offense ORS, but if you think we're experiencing anything close to "record" runs within just the time frame of post-Columbian development, you could not possibly be more wrong. Comparing the hatchery dominated runs of today with the massive wild runs of even a hundred years ago is like comparing a kickball championship at some grade school with the World Series. It's important to keep in mind that these are "record" runs as compared to when? "Record" as compared to what? "Record" numbers of which species? "Record" numbers of fish reared where?

Considering just one species, how are the Sockeye doing on the Columbia now? How did they used to do? Are they at "record" levels now? Well, yes, yes they are--record LOWS. In fact, I'm pretty sure they have a word for their current "record" levels: extinction!

You might want to read a book entitled "Salmon Without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis," by Jim Lichatowich. Just one of the really important things you can pick up from that book is that over 1100 miles of the Columbia were eliminated as habitat with just one dam.

As far as publishing an article with the headline "Columbia Salmon Are Thriving," I can't imagine any paper publishing such a blatant and easily refuted lie.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19,959 Posts
Ponder this,the bulk of the fall chinook run originates in the Hanford Reach. By lowering the Dalles dam level 50ft,over 125mi. of fall chinook spawning habitat would be exposed. Can you amagine the numbers of fish this would produce? This would not stop barge traffic,change maybe but it would still go on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,079 Posts
I asked myself after reading the first post..."what would Brion say if he were here" :rolleyes: :laugh:

Brion and Bubzilla make the points clear enough. "record numbers" doesnt mean squat. The numbers we see now are not at all signigficant compared to an environment where human behavior didnt play a role in thier habitats being altered.

Ask any one of the biologist if man can undo thier damage on fish habitat, the declined numbers due to polution, environmental change,and other human caused effects and the honest.."dont tell anyone I said this" answer will be an emphatic "no way"
Its seems a reality that we would all like to disreagard, the wild fish are well on thier way to extinction. Even if the 3.8% is 30% off, would you bet against salmon being extinct in the foreseeable future?

If you consider Brions "3.8%" ....also take into consideration that this too is an estimate that can only be heavily critisized of the methods used to create it. But if the numbers are inflated, 3.8% is already a horrible number. If these numbers are in fact low compared to whats really coming back into our river system, one can only hope they are way off, because 3.8% says to me that the fish have long ago seen thier last window of opportunity for a come-back.

One question though, how many of the "wild fish" biologists count are actually products of spawning hatchery fish"?

I'm not sure theres a way to answer that question, but it would certainly reduce the 3.8 percent of legitimately "wild" fish. Either way, if the answer shows that very few are products of hatch fish, this is quite discouraging considering our hatchery efforts. If theres a significant amount of "wild" fish returning that ARE products of spawning hatchery fish, does anyone agree there needs to be far more attention (and money) given to the hatchery effort to replenish salmon?

[ 09-29-2003, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: Row Vs. Wade ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
5-cents

What we need to focus on is what we are doing now to get better returns and what we can do better to increase those returns.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">That's exactly what the OHSI biologists study was doing. Increasing the wetlands habitat in the lower river would increase hatchery and native returns.

OregonRedside was criticizing the biologists, saying their scientific findings were somehow self serving.

For those who want to help restore the wetlands mentioned in the scientific study, increase the number of salmon, hatchery and native, boost the economy, support local businesses and add jobs here are a couple groups actually doing something with the scientific info.

Columbia Land Trust

River Conservancy Network

Sea Resources

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,389 Posts
Close the Columbia to sport/gill netters every other year. That should be considered before anyone even thinks of dam removal. I'm talking year around. Steelhead included. What? Not a popular opinion? Neither is flooding homes and raising electrical rate astronomically.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,223 Posts
Brion,

I agree with you that I dont think the report was self-serving. My argument is we have to look at the needs of the human population as well as the population of the fish and proceed accordingly.

We cant take a snapshot of 100 years ago and say this is where we need to go because there is no way we are ever going back there. We need to focus our efforts on what can be done now within the boundries we have and the resources available.

I have to agree with R-v-W when saying the species is well on its way to extinction if you are only getting 3.8% return back and that number is probably even less when you do figure in hatchery fish breeding in the wild. Do we even have any "pure" wild fish left? If the answer is "no" or something close to "no" then we do need to focus on hatchery programs more. I for one like catching hatchery fish! I like eating hatchery fish!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,921 Posts
Welp, I've certainly enjoyed fishing the last couple of years. I remember the days when Winchester Bay almost dried up and blew away, along with a lot of towns along the coast and coastal rivers. I remember when a coho, native or hatchery was a rarity. But it's not that way now, and no amount of gloom and doom talk-talk will change that.

I'll stick with common sense. The phrase "research has shown" is a horse that can be saddled up and ridden any direction the researcher wants it to. Go ahead and quote your statistics in a "Chicken Little" fashion. I live too close to the river to buy into your panic.

There will always be a cycle of good times and bad times. Bear the bad times stoically but don't neglect to enjoy the good times. Like now.



Skein
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Brion what I was criticizing was the lack of supporting information in the article and the timing. I commented just the other day to one of my fishing partners that I was surprised we haven't seen a doomsday article yet this year (during salmon season) and that it was probably only a matter of time. Yes, based on the timing, it does seem self-serving.

Is there a loss of habitat in the lower CR? Of course. How many fish and what species used the habitat that was once available? WHO KNOWS? Are there opportunities for improving the lower river? Absolutely? But IMHO, improvements to the habitat and population need to take into account the entire system and all factors involved. Not just one small piece of the puzzle. It seems that the effort to eliminate dams has now shifted to eliminating dikes.

Sheesh - I'm almost sorry I said anything. All friendly discussion, though, right? I hope I haven't torqued anyone too badly. :shocked:

ORS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
5-cents

My argument is we have to look at the needs of the human population as well as the population of the fish and proceed accordingly.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">I would think increasing water quality, salmon, economy and jobs has the best interests of the human population in mind.

We need to focus our efforts on what can be done now within the boundries we have and the resources available.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Eyup...exactly the point of the scientist's work and the habitat restoration groups mentioned.

Not sure why OregonRedSide was dissing the scientist's work.

I look on it as good news...something we can do to increase salmon.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
OregonRedside,

Brion what I was criticizing was the lack of supporting information in the article and the timing.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Huh...the scientific work by the scientists quoted was the supporting information. The biologists from OHSU were quoted, the NOAA Fisheries biologist was quoted, the Conservancy biologists was quoted. AS for the timing, study finished, report published, results announced...velly mysterious.

The article was a good report on the scientific work.

It seems that the effort to eliminate dams has now shifted to eliminating dikes.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Nope, no shift, dams are definitely a big problem but the scientific work quoted does provide solid evidence that we can help by eliminating the dike system in many areas of the the lower Columbia. If you look at the links provided, you'll see a number of local groups are already at work in restoring wetlands in the lower Columbia.

Why fishermen would dis good scientific info that helps us increase the amount of salmon in the Columbia is always a mystery to me.

Brion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was not looking for an inflamatory argument - nor was a dissing the entire scientific community for their efforts to improve salmon habitats and population - please don't paint me as doing so. If the article was written better, such as you can find here:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-09/ohs-rme092303.php

I probably would not have even mentioned it.

With respect to timing, the data collection was completed some time in 2000 and the study was completed prior to March 2002: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2002JC001382.shtml

I concede that, after reading more information on the study, I jumped the gun - I'll blame it on my interpretation of the Oregonian article. However, with respect to timing, we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm just sensitive to the inflamed chicken little-type approach to informing the public.

As I alluded earlier, I fully suport efforts to imrove the fish populations and habitat with the resources and opportunities we have at our disposal.

My apologies to all whom I may have offended - not my intentions. I'm done with this now.

ORS

[ 09-29-2003, 10:20 PM: Message edited by: OregonRedside ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,215 Posts
OregonRedside, if you wish to avoid an "inflamatory" situation, you might make more prudent use of such phrases that you've posted here such as -

{doom and gloomers... those who preach doom and gloom for the sake of self-preservation...the alarmists...continuing efforts of some alarmist biologists...preach their doom and gloom - giving the general population a distorted picture of reality...their "junk sciene," ...doomsday article...I'm just sensitive to the inflamed chicken little-type approach to informing the public.}

What did you expect?

Particularly as it's very difficult to discern how that particular article as contained any of those things.

The study seemed to be primarily involved with defining the problem - an initial step in the scientific process.

That it was funded by the Army Corp of Engineers, and is associated with their proposed Columbia dredging project would seem to weigh against it being produced by self-serving alarmists.

You may be gladdened to know that locals like the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council are already at work on projects like restoring chum salmon to a tributary of Scappoose Bay. And the manager at Burlington Bottoms is erradicating Japanese Knotwood before it spreads into Multnomah Channel. ODFW's Sauvie Island Wildlife Management Area is contained within the study area delineated by the article's map; these 9000+ acres of public property offer an abundance of opportunity for restoring critical salmon habitat.

If you're interested in learning more about the state of the region's salmon, from those scientists most involved, there is a series of monthly lectures coming up at PSU.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Like I said - I jumped the gun on this one - you forgot to add that quote to your list. I'd like more info on the PSU lecture series, please. Places, times, names of speakers, etc. - web site?

ORS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,722 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Let me clarify:

The record runs to which I was referring are specific to Chinook - since we began to count fish traveling through the dams. With respect to the Sockeye- I'll give you that. But my point, though, is that every year about this time, especially when we have "good" returns of fish, we can count on some biologists popping up, telling us how terrible things are - trying to lay a guilt trip on sport and commercial fishermen.

No one can refute that the populations of ALL salmon species are considerably less than what they were when the river was in its "native" state, prior to dams. However, when articles, such as the one published this AM, refer to salmon in the general sense, without being specific about which species, one has to question the rest of the study.

I work in a science-based field and get extremely annoyed by some of these studies, the results of which are not supported with scientific evidence - at least publicly. That's not to say that they don't have the evidence, but why not give us the whole story?

I was essentially pointing out a pattern that I have seen over the past few years. I am in no way saying that the fish populations are even close to what they were even a hundred years ago. I don't believe they ever will be either. I just get tired of the "junk science" being published and the timing of these things. Almost seems intentional.

ORS

[ 09-29-2003, 12:24 PM: Message edited by: OregonRedside ]
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top