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Where have all the salmon gone?

Pioneer Press
Fort Jones, CA
February 7, 2007

To the Editor:

Myself and many other fisherman were not happy with the Klamath River Salmon fishing regulations last year, no adult fish could be kept. I was told that this was because of an expected poor Salmon return. If this helped we needed to do our part and support the regulations to help improve the situation. Then I find out that the fishing regulations did not apply to all Americans equally.

The American Indian tribes towards the mouth of the Klamath were allowed to set over one hundred gill nets that take tens of thousands of Salmon although the River was closed to taking adult fish. It is no wonder why we are having poor Salmon returns. The regulations do no good when they are only selectively enforced. The Fish and Game Wardens were told not to enforce the regulations where it concerns the gill netters on the river.

It makes no sense to tell the public that the Salmon runs are in danger, close the river to the keeping of adult Salmon by sport fisherman ,threaten them with large fines if they keep fish and then allow over one hundred gill nets that indiscriminately take and kill adult King and Coho Salmon by the tens of thousands.. The Klamath is the only river in California where gillnetting for Salmon is allowed.

In 2005 the Sacramento River had 1.5 million Salmon return, no gillnetting there.

This is not rocket science, if those in charge want the Salmon runs to increase then the gillnets need to be taken out of the river and our Fish and Game laws need to be enforced for all Americans. What good would it do to take the Klamath river dams down if adequate numbers of Salmon can't get past the gill nets to reach the upper river areas. We are all in this together, Sport Fisherman, Commercial Fisherman and the Gill netters. We all need to do our part.

The early talk is that 2007 fall Salmon season will have the same or tighter regulations as last year. The powers to be are willing to take down dams, reduce domestic energy supply and put many people out of work to increase the Klamath River Salmon runs. However, they don't want to pull the gill nets out of the river or equally enforce the laws concerning the catch of Salmon.

Please contact your elected representative , California Department of Fish and Game , Rod McInnis , southwest regional administrator for NOAA fisheries, and encourage them to work towards stopping the gill netting of Salmon on the Klamath River. Encourage the Department of Fish and Game to treat all Americans equally and enforce the fishing regulations on the entire Klamath River, and not just pick on the weekend sport fisherman. It is just possible that they might act on common sense and the concerns of those that elected them.

G. Horne,
Montague
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