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Old 09-15-2004, 05:39 AM
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Genetically Identical

In regards to the Feds new ploy to count hatchery fish the same as wild ones, the simile that comes to mind is: I can take a T bone steak out to my barbecue, get the coals just right and grill it to medium rare perfection or have the Feds cook it for me by boiling it in a pail of soapy dish water. What the heck, they're both genetically identical!

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Old 09-15-2004, 09:45 AM
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Also dams are fine for searun fish, judging by recent hatchery returns
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Old 09-15-2004, 01:36 PM
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The feds didn't say hatchery and wild fish were genetically identical. A federal judge in Oregon said that the feds must count both hatchery and wild fish when making a decision to list or not list a rivers salmon run if the feds did not establish that there were clear genetic differences between the hatchery and wild fish. NOAA Fisheries has simply responsed to the judge's order on the river the case was about.

The feds have not said there is no difference between hatchery and wild fish. They have said in the new wild fish policy, which was forced by another Oregon federal judge named Redden, that if there is little genetic difference found between a hatchery stock and wild stock in a particular river, they will be managed as if they were equivalent fish. This is very diffferent that sayiing that wild and hatchery fish are genetically identical. And it only applies to those runs on those rivers where it has been through science that there is very little difference between the hatchery and wild fish of a particular species.

In fact, in response the Jude Redden' ruling, NOAA-Fisheries kept all of the Columbia river stocks of salmon and steelhead listed except for the Deschutes steelhead. I fail to see how this indicates the feds have said or decided that hatchery and wild fish are genetically identical.
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Old 09-18-2004, 10:38 AM
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Link - Replace....

Feds with Conservative Republican Legislators, and your analogy is pretty damn good. More so than you may realize. Flytyer is correct in that NOAA Fisheries has not come out and said they are the same fish, however, this administration, and much of the conservative legislative base that is really pressing this issue believe there is no difference. "If they swim like a fish, smell like a fish, and taste like a fish, they must be the same fish..." or so the thought goes. And like it or not, that same administration and legislative cohort has impressed A LOT of influence on the current stance at NOAA. To those who believe otherwise, grab one's ears, pull one's head out, and soon... In NOAA Fisheries recent BO on the Columbia River/Snake River stocks, you are seeing the heavy influence of industry and municipalities "dependent" upon the Snake River Dams (and all those on the Columbia as well) weighing in heavily on the outcome. Welcome to politics and Government. For better or worse, it's the reality that human needs (and likely human greed) will always way in heavily when it comes to public resources, whether it be fish, federal lands, air, water, or the like. And with an administration that is sympathetic to the conservative base, those views will weigh in even more heavily... There are simply those people, either ignorant enough or blinded by their own needs and desires, who will discount the value of things wild if it means their pocket book is affected. What's worse, many of them seem to have little concience when it comes to spilling the B.S. to support their weak position. The idea that because runs of recent have been generally good as being an indicator of the "success" and "compatibility" of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric system and it's management is ludicrious (it's the oceans, stupid), but they've bought into it, hook, line, and sinker (or is that a Jock Scott I see in the corner of their over-sized maw's?!?! ). They've bought into it because it SEEMS to support their contention. Never mind the Redfish Lake sockeye run is still in peril and hasn't seen the improvements in runs... Something to ponder---if the runs have been so good WITH the dams in place, imagine what they WOULD have been had the dams NOT been there!!!
I still keep hoping for a regime change in November, hopefully then we'll see some kinder, gentler and more rational management of this valued resource...
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Old 09-18-2004, 02:37 PM
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I'm going to play devil's advocate with this. If run size is mostly dependent on ocean conditions, doesn't this then mean that it matters little what our fisheries managers do since the major factor would be ocean conditions over which they have no control. And by extension of the ocean condition factor, does it not also mean that it matters not how many wild fish are harvested, since their abundance would likewise be dependent on ocean conditions?

What I'm saying is we have to be careful saying the major factor is ocean conditions, hatchery production, wild fish harvest, dams, tribal netting in the rivers, etc. The truth is that all of these are factors is the size or abundance of fish runs. We also must not forget that when a run is depleted to near extinction (like the Snake River sockeye were), it takes a long time for the run to rebound, if it ever does.

My point is that one must take all factors into consideration and not put most of the blame on one of them. And before someone accuses me of being in favor of dams, I am not. In fact, I'd like to see all of the Columbia River dams, Snake River Dams, and any other dams that prevent anadromous fish from getting to their historic spawning grounds torn down or breeched and have federal legislation preventing the building of any dam that would prevent anadromous fish from reaching their spawning grounds.

However, the dams have already been built and there is little indication that the feds (or states for that matter) will require them to be torn down. Therefore, we have to learn how to advocate for the fish without the dams coming down. Remember, the Columbia River and Snake River dams were sited and approved for building during the tenure of self-identified conservationist administrations of a different political party than is now in office. We must also keep in mind that Congress also plays a huge part in how dams are run or where they are built or if they will be torn down or breached since they appropriate the money for these things, and the party that was in control of Congress when the Columbia and Snake River dams were built was not the party of the current adminstration. Then you must also add to this the federal courts and various rulings they have made, which also affect fish management and operation of the dams.

The truth is that neither major political party or their appointed department heads or nominated judges has been very good conservationists during the last 70 years.
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Old 09-18-2004, 08:28 PM
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Don't disagree with pretty much everything you've said...

However, when things have essentially changed little in the better part of the last 15 years in the management of the Snake River and Columbia River dams, besides some barging and attempts at flushing, w/ no real effective improvement in spawning habitats, rearing habitats, etc. (at a basin level scale), and yet you see these changes in population, both in the positive, and in the negative, you have to start looking at the factors that are changing. And Ocean conditions has been a huge one. El Nino/La Nina affects are well documented on anadromous fisheries, and where they end up during their ocean expeditions, as well as their succesfull rearing, or lack there of. Am I saying that none of the other stuff matters? Most certainly not. The larger issue behind decline in stocks, listed species, etc. isn't the population sizes (cause hatcheries "prove", more or less, that we can affect that in the positive), but the loss of the unique genetic material in each run. As populations decline, bottle necks form, with an increased risk of the loss of the genetic material, if we have a series of declining run years. The Redfish Lake Sockeye is an excellent example of that. Only a handful of fish returned, with documented significant loss of returning adults through the columbia and snake river dams. some where around 80-90% of the adults that passed Bonneville didn't make it to the spawning grounds in the upper Salmon. With a run of 250,000, not such a big deal. But with a run of 120, all the sudden a very big deal. Again, if we were dealing with native runs in the hundreds of thousands IN EACH stream system, local conditions, dams, harvest wouldn't be such a big deal. But because we aren't, and essentially every fish counts that can make it back continuing the propogation of that valuable genetic material, those factors do become important... All things are cumulative, and no, removing the dams won't solve all our problems, but it's one of many factors that could have been address, and incrementally improved runs and reduced risks of extinction. In the case of the dams, I believe those would have been some HUGE increments!

As far as the politics? don't disagree with you there, for the most part. But before comparing politicians and parties of yester-year to today, note that it was a republican that enacted much of the best conservation legislation to date (Richard Nixon), and more importantly, a republican of yester-year is not the same republican now, and neither are the dem's. Yesteryear's Dixie-crats are this year's republicans and vice versa. As far as the influence, I think it's significant, because the rules, regs, special orders, etc. that they set in place (and this includes both the executive and the legislative branches) sets the tone for how resource issues are addressed. The Roadless Rule, under the Clinton Administration, is a perfect example. That rule has SIGNIFICANTLY influenced the direction and management of USFS lands in the western US. And so has W's unwillingness to support it now. Those rulings, and lack there of, direct and influence activities on the ground, and where the money goes to do it. With dam removal "taken off the list", the various resource management agencies, etc. will no longer look to that option, and instead, spend their money and efforts elsewhere. I hope they're as successful as they think they are going to be, but recent history indicates to me their anticipated success is a far cry from what will be reality.

I agree that we, as concerned conservationist, must keep our eye on all the factors. We would have been fools to think that the moratorium, had it stood, would be the salvation of native stocks in western Washington. That would have been a damn good step (and it's not like "we" didn't get a step forward in the final outcome, tho not nearly as large) in the right direction, but much more needs to be done. so to with the Columbia River and Snake River systems, etc.

so is this argument circular or what??? damn, i need to get my stolen gear replaced and get back on the river!!!
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