Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 02 April 2010
California's San Joaquin Valley water battle heated up this week when fishermen and politicians gathered Thursday at the Salmon Summit in San Francisco to urge a change in Central Valley water policy.
It seems like it might take a full-on blaze to convince locals and politicians to find a solution to the region's water problem.
Two consecutive years without a salmon season has pushed local fisherman to fight for the water that once flowed into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta but has long been redirected to irrigate farmland.
Salmon fisherman certainly have reason to believe the diverted water supply has depleted their own livelihood. In 2002, 800,000 salmon swam through the delta. But by last year, that number had dwindled to 39,000, according to today's article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
However, representatives of the farmers say they have cut back their water use as required since a 2007 court ruling, and the salmon population is still not returning.
It's a shame for the American fisherman to be pitted against American farmers for resources. Both industries certainly are beleaguered in this country.
Ultimately, there's not enough of this precious resource for the types of crops being grown as well as a robust chinook population. Our federal government has shown that when fish populations are down, they will do anything (including slashing and burning jobs) to bring them back.
And yet, when it comes to the salmon population in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, it has taken hordes of fishermen to make the case for bringing the local resources closer to their natural state.
Sadly, as has also been the case with waterfront development in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the feds have a tendency to choose industry over fish, unless that industry is fishing.
Here's hoping the loud and proud voices of fishermen will finally be heard and heeded.
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...