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Commentaries and editorials

Investigation Findings are Tool, Not Rule

by N. Kathryn Brigham
Seattle Times, April 27, 2009

Salmon Hatchery Reform

(Shawn Raecke) Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist Mike Peterson holds a male sockeye salmon for the camera crews before releasing him into Redfish Lake near Stanley Tuesday morning, 900 miles from the Pacific. The event including State, Federal and local officials including Governor Butch Otter were all on hand to release 56 sockeye salmon into the lake. The treaties of 1855 secured for the Columbia Basin treaty tribes the right to fish in their usual and accustomed places. To fully realize those rights, the tribes address every aspect of salmon recovery, including hatchery reform.

The three-year detailed investigation of the role of hatcheries in restoring salmon conducted by the Hatchery Scientific Review Group (HSRG) reached the same conclusion that the tribes did years ago: Hatcheries are important to recovering the basin's salmon ["Hatchery reform comes to the Columbia River," Opinion, Jim Waldo guest commentary, April 24]. The tribes themselves use hatcheries in their salmon-recovery efforts.

The HSRG findings are technical recommendations that are a tool, not a rule. They are one approach of many to addressing declining salmon runs in a dynamic and complex environment. The HSRG recommendations need to be considered in the larger context of existing management agreements, ongoing recovery efforts and mitigation actions required by law for impacts to salmon by hydro operations and habitat loss.

The U.S. v. Oregon technical and policy committees are reviewing the HSRG recommendations for implications to harvest. Any attempt by the HSRG to change harvest activities through their report is inappropriate. Harvest has always been, and will continue to be, managed under the US v. Oregon Harvest Management Agreement.

N. Kathryn Brigham, chair, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Portland, Ore.
Investigation Findings are Tool, Not Rule
Seattle Times, April 27, 2009

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