Snake River dams affect Alaska fishing

Posted: Wednesday, March 01, 2000

It's not often that sport, charter and commercial fishermen can agree on a fish management issue, but the removal of four dams on the Snake River in one issue everyone should support.

Years ago, a Trout Unlimited study identified dams as the single largest contributor to declines in salmon stocks in Washington. Even after this determination, fishermen here in Southeast were forced to reduce harvest levels to protect runs depleted by these same dams and further reductions are possible if the dams stay in place. This approach is about politics, not science. Alaska fishermen annually are responsible for only one quarter of 1 percent of human-caused mortality of Snake River Salmon.

Thankfully, there is now a strong movement afoot to remove four dams to help restore salmon runs in the Snake River. Dam removal is feasible, electrical rates will not be significantly affected, and best of all, the fishermen of Southeast will no longer be used as a management tool for a problem we didn't create.

There will be an opportunity to show your support for dam removal at a public meeting at Centennial Hall on March 8. There will be a public presentation at 5:30 and public comment begins at 7. Written comments will be accepted until March 17 at Federal Caucus Comment Record, c/o BPA-PL, 707 W. Main St. Suite 500, Spokane, Wash., 99201. You can contact Paula Terrell at 586-3451 for more information. Don't miss this chance to help preserve salmon fishing opportunities for all Southeast residents.

Mark Kaelke

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