Salmon for barbecue hardly the issue

  Dear HCN,

Logger Kirkmire's letter in your Dec. 4 edition requires several responses.

1) The people he claims are outraged about the killing of excess hatchery salmon need to study up on their biology and ecology. Any watershed has a limited capacity for spawning and rearing of salmon. To introduce more spawning adults into a watershed beyond that capacity would simply interfere with the wild fish which either had already spawned or were to do so later. So killing the excess fish makes biological sense.

2) He claims that "the assertion that hatchery salmon are somehow inferior to wild salmon doesn't even pass the straight-face test." It is more than an assertion. It is the conclusion of almost all of the fish biologists who belong to the American Fisheries Society. Read their scientific reports for the reasoning and evidence.

3) He is correct that the Endangered Species Act is about "modifying the public's behavior." If the public will not change voluntarily the behavior that for a century has ruined the habitat for spawning, rearing and migration of anadromous fish, then the ESA is a last resort.

4) His assertion that "as long as I can go to the local Costco or Safeway and purchase a salmon for the barbecue" reveals the depth of his biological ignorance. Those fish are farm-raised for the market and bear little resemblance to the wild fish we are trying to save.

Thanks for High Country News. Keep up the good work. Roger A. Bachman
Portland, Oregon

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