Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Fishing rights and empty nets: Tribes frustrated by dwindling salmon runs
Our link to salmon
For those of us who follow the salmon, time and events get their cues from the sequence of the life of salmon. When tribal patriarch Billy Frank Jr. says we need to help “all the things that swim” [“Fishing-rights victory empty without fish,” NWSunday, Jan. 6], he’s talking about more than the money.
In order to recognize the extent of the salmon mystique in our Northwest it would be instructive to remove them (hypothetically). If the closest salmon migrations were found across the Canadian border we could count our own migration to follow them there. And we would have plenty of company; for the crowd of connected species would darken the sky and form a busy highway in the sea going north. So extensive is the web that rises and falls with the salmon that our neck of the woods is defined by it.
Every fish and game license holder, every vacationing family to our spectacular Olympic Peninsula, birdwatchers, everyone who has visited Kansas, all who have eaten catfish, those who brag about our Northwest “quality of life” -- count yourselves in common with the tribes’ wish to help “all the things that swim”.
-- Art James, Port Townsend
Tribal nets part of problem
With all due respect for Billy Frank Jr. and his efforts to preserve salmon habitat, the nets his tribe uses are a major reason fish are disappearing in Western Washington.
Forty years of overharvesting have taken its toll and certainly belies “fishing in common” with rod-and-reel fishermen.
-- Lawrence Bowen, Seattle
You reap what you sow
Billy Frank Jr. laments the lack of salmon in the river and has plenty of blame to go around. This as they are standing in front of a pile of gill nets that would be stretched across the river to kill every fish contacting them. [He states] in the article that a few years ago, his family would catch (gill net) 200 fish in a day and be ready to fish again in a season that lasted all winter.
If one family is catching 200 fish a day as are others, no one has to look very hard to see where the already strained runs of salmon have gone. You reap what you sow.
-- Greg Meyer, Kent