Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will we get rid of hatchery fish on the Sandy?

Scientist say hatcheries are bad for wild fish. Spencer Miles has opened the great debate along with a portal, to express public opinion, to be showcased to ODFW regarding the Sandy River. This has resulted in many letters sent, in hopeful pressure, for ODFW to take consideration the decisions of management of Wild Steelhead and how the Sandy River hatchery plants are doing damage to this sensitive river system.

The other result are that the pro hatchery folks also have that same door opened to jump on the bandwagon to give their opinion also. I have no doubt, that the pro hatchery army has a bit bigger stick than the wild fish advocates have, in terms of amount of public opinion. So, what has been accomplished?

  1. Education. This gives room for debate and allows people to discuss, cuss, and learn through public forums. Westfly has this post going. Ifish had this original thread turn somewhat ugly and redundant resulting it to be closed by mods. In turn it took a spin into this thread and this thread. I am sure there are some other online places chatting it up about this topic in cyber land.
  2. Exposure. Steel, Osprey, Apocalypse, and likely a few more jumped on board to share with its reader base the opportunity to "know."
  3. Consideration. It gets people thinking about the idea to help and be a part of a movement.
I make my living as a fly fishing guide, spending 6 months of the year, on the Sandy River. Would I give up guiding if this means doing what is right for our wild fish and their best chance at being healthy? YES! Could I find other work? Of course! What is the best management plan to achieve
"To protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations"
as quoted from ODFW's mission statement? I will allow you to do some of your own research through links provided.

I do believe waging a war of public opinion is redundant and fruitless. Where these battles are won take place in legislature and courts via litigation. These battles take money to hire lobbiest and lawyers that are backed with science and a sound organization. What can you do?