Experts Silencedby Edward L. Fisk
Letter to Editor, The Idaho Statesman, August 22, 2003
Most Idaho sportsmen finally accepted that we needed to breach the lower Snake River dams and stop barging smolts, if we wanted our salmon runs to improve. Therefore, it came as quite a shock when our hatchery salmon started returning in harvestable numbers, before any of the “improvements” were accomplished.
Our experts said it was due to “good spring runoff and improved ocean conditions.”
Adequate runoff enables more smolts to reach Lower Granite Dam. However, once there, most are still barged. When did barging smolts become a favorable action?
While the river environment is still a problem, it is also clear that “improved ocean conditions” are now controlling our runs.
Interestingly, we have seen practically nothing on the ocean environment from our experts. They certainly had plenty to say concerning the dams and other river problems, as evidenced by several articles in The Statesman. Perhaps The Statesman could get the experts to tell us what happens to our salmon while in the ocean. Should our experts be ocean information-challenged, then contact David Welch, fisheries biologist at the Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C., or James J. Anderson, University of Washington.
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