Environment

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Salmon Crisis Comes to a Head

April 23, 2008 06:13 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Due to a mass disappearance of salmon in the Sacramento River, the fishing season has been cancelled. West Coast states are seeking federal aid.

30-Second Summary

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Governors of California, Oregon and Washington sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting emergency aid for West Coast salmon fishermen and fishing communities. The three states are expected to lose $290 million and over 4,200 jobs as a result of a recent Sacramento River fishery closure.

Earlier this month, the entire chinook salmon fishing season was cancelled in California and Oregon after salmon began to disappear in huge numbers from the Sacramento River, an important spawning location for Pacific Coast fish.

Fishermen worry that without federal assistance, the cancellation of the fishing season will put them out of business. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said, “What’s really needed is help from Congress and the Bush administration.”

According to the New York Times, some blame the salmons' disappearance on federal and state water managers’ mishandling of the Sacramento River. However, state and federal officials and biologists suggest that unusual ocean currents depleted the salmons' food supply.

Although policymakers can do little to alter oceanic conditions, they can work to restore freshwater habitats. “That means a multi-state effort to restore tributaries, provide cool water for salmon, removed unneeded dams, retrofit unscreened diversions of water and reduce pollution,” said an editorial in The Sacramento Bee.

Salmon prices are expected to skyrocket, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Today, fresh-caught salmon sells for more than $5.00 per pound, but just three years ago, the price hovered around $1.75.

Headline Links: West Coast fishermen in need

Background: Examining the ban and the disappearance

Related Topics: Salmon aren’t the only struggling fish

Opinion & Analysis: How to help the salmon

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