While fishing has always been a part of the human culture no matter the time or location, recent overfishing trends have led to a decreased number of fish, both in the wild and in hatcheries. But as mentioned, fishing is a time-honored tradition, so authorities would have a hard time cancelling fishing season.
And this is the exact situation in some parts of the United States, as authorities are considering closing salmon fishing season. Of course, this wouldn’t go well with fishing aficionados and it would be dismal to the economy, but there are few choices if enough salmon don’t return by the time the fishing season begins.
With summer fast approaching and the salmon supposed to migrate nowhere to be seen yet, authorities are increasingly concerned that not even their hatcheries would be enough to sate the eager fishermen. In Seattle, at least, authorities are considering two options – opening the hatcheries to fishing and imposing a limit of two salmon per day, or simply cancelling the fishing season altogether.
According to Larry Giese, member of the state’s sport fishing advisory board and owner of Westport’s Deep Sea Charters,
The tribes were very adamant about issuing a zero fishing option, and while the meetings started off bad it gradually got better. Our top priority is to make sure we protect the poor coho returns on rivers like the Queets, Quillayute and Hoh.
I know there are some who don’t agree that hatchery production works, but when we are faced with these kinds of situations, it offers a buffer to protect wild fish stocks while being able to fish on healthy hatchery runs.
With the authorities busy attempting to figure out the issues, it’s up to fishery managers to figure out among themselves how and if they are willing to contribute to the effort. The answer will most likely be ‘yes’, as they would be paid by the authorities, but there are also risks regarding that option.
Everybody is planning under the assumption that the fish will return soon, but if they won’t, or they’ll be in much smaller numbers than expected, fisheries will also be in danger of losing their livelihoods, especially if they are to allow for the fishing aficionados to use their facilities.
According to the state Fish and Wildlife director Jim Unsworth,
Fishery managers face many difficult decisions in the weeks ahead as we move toward solidifying salmon-fishing seasons for the state. We know that severely limiting opportunities will hurt many families and communities that depend on these fisheries. But conserving wild salmon is our top priority and is in the best interest of future generations of Washingtonians.
Image source: Wikimedia