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The great lie

Pioneer Press  August 20, 2008  pioneerp@sisqtel.net

To the Editor, by Rick Crocker, Happy Camp

The fish runs have been declining since the gill nets showed up on the Klamath River and oceans, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, gill nets and more nets. Fleets, processing ships, selling our own fish back to us and our government does nothing at all except raise gas prices, taxes, permits, licenses, hire more and more city, county, state and federal employees, create more and more jobs to generate more taxes. Excuse me, better the economy? Joke's on us.

Everybody is into consumerism, spend, spend, drive, drive, throw away and trash all roads and highways at the same darn time.

I have adopted our highways and freeways for a few years now. It is literally astonishing what is thrown out of all and any vehicles. I find Wendy's wrappers, garbage in Happy Camp and up and down the beautiful Highway 96. The closest Wendy's is Medford, over 120 miles, or Redding, close to 200 miles. Diapers, cans, you name it and it has been thrown out of a vehicle.

Back to fishing. The gill nets will continue to wipe out all runs in Klamath River. I have caught many small steelhead, 2-1/2 pounds, with gill net marks on the fish, fin missing, scars on both sides of fish. And this was before the "king" Yuroks could net and sell their fish legally.

I have been to the mouth of the Klamath and have seen many dead salmon, white and rotten, floating in some of the nets. There are hundreds of nets and then travel up river to the so-called reservoir and they have 100 yard long nets, of all size mesh, nets four inches, six inches, eight inches, who really knows. they monitor themselves on how many fish they count. A few Yuroks have told me and bragged about the fact that if they are allowed 40,000 salmon, they will take 60,000 or 80,000, however many they want. That right there is a very intelligent attitude to have, the white man owes us.

Their ancestors used Eddy nets, hand made, not bought by the 100-yard roll. They have dug out canoes, not jet boats and four wheel drives. They ate the fish and traded for beads. Not sold to the highest bidder.

The tribes on the river used to have salmon rearing ponds and raise and release hundreds of thousands of salmon smolt for years. Poof, it's stopped and now fish are endangered.

Poppycock. The Fish and Lame are a bunch of two faced politicians, '94 definition of politician: "Someone you tell your kids not to be, a liar, cheat, dishonest, unloyal person, '47 encyclopedia. They have protected the fish duck "merganser" and they raise up to 25 ducklings. I've seen them babysit for each other, believe it or not, right here at the mouth of Indian Creek. They eat buckets of fish up to 12 inches long, daily and now we have cormorants, a very much larger fish duck. Our fish are being wiped off of the planet thanks to the U.S. government and California fish & Lame.

News is now the UN government gave the Yuroks $3,000 apiece not to net and they continue to do so. Why in the heck wouldn't they sell for $5 a pound while they laugh at the white man and the white man owes them? A lot of the elders in all tribes on the river are disgusted with the new generation of so-called Indians.

Rick Crocker, Happy Camp

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