Dick Carleton, Merrill Oregon,
Responds to Oregonian Article "Feds declare fishery
FOLLOWED BY Oregonian article
My name is Dick Carleton and I was one of the
farmers from the Klamath basin to be invited to the
meeting with Sen. Gordon Smith and Dr. Hogarth and
Dr. Sampson. I did read your article and am somewhat
surprised by some of your quotes.
First, I must say I am sorry to have missed you at
the meeting and also Glen Spain. (You must have been
one of those people standing behind) I would have
liked to have a chat with you (and Glen) to give a
little perspective from the Klamath Basin farming
community. However, I hope you would agree that the
meeting was a success.
I have to admit I was a bit surprised, even after I
had spent many hours in person and on the phone with
the fishermen present, that there was such agreement
between farmers and the fishermen. (Did you notice
that?) As you know the media and the environmental
community has portrayed this whole issue as a
"farmer vs fisher" issue. This spring I have found
that actually the fishermen are people who are just
like us, who would like to continue on with their
lives without all of the outside influence and
lawsuits just as we would, and we are in agreement
on what should be done to fix things. I do hope you
noticed those things as we sat around the table and
also as we visited outside.
However I do have to take exception to the quote you
used from Glen Spain where he said "the feds got us
into this mess and they have to help get us out."
Actually Glen Spain, Zeke Grader, ONRC, and others
who are not knowledgeable about the Klamath Project
and filed lawsuit after lawsuit are the ones who got
us into this mess. You are probably aware that they
claim the fish population in the Klamath has
declined in the past 4 or 5 years. But I must point
out that the management of the Klamath has been done
by court order from Oakland, CA because of lawsuits
filed by Mr. Spain and Mr. Grader (and others) So,
since they claim populations have fallen in these
past years could we conclude that management by
court order of their plan has not worked well?
I also noticed the quote from Steve Pedery of ONRC.
I must admit that I am new to meeting with such high
level people and I did not recognize him. I would
have enjoyed a chat. You quoted him saying that the
reason behind the Klamath's problem was Federal
Water policy. Again I must point out that Federal
Water policy since 2001 has been decreed by court
order from lawsuits filed by he and others. I also
noticed he hoped we weren't back next year looking
for disaster relief. I would hope that same thing,
having been there. Perhaps if he and Mr. Spain and
Mr. Grader would work with us to get good science
and find real solutions instead of looking for a
lawsuit to file we might make some progress.
I must point out that what I did find glaringly
absent from your article was a quote from some of us
in the farming community or someone from the fishing
community who was also there and testified to these
people. Another time I hope you would afford us the
courtesy of at least speaking to those of us who
were there who are actual users of the natural
resources and possibly we could have a quote so your
readers would get a fair picture. As you know, Glen
Spain and Zeke Grader do not represent the fishing
industry in Oregon and Northern California and it is
disturbing that you would quote from them instead of
someone who is directly involved in the industry.
Should you like to visit with me, since I did talk
to the delegation sent from Washington, feel free to
e-mail me and I can arrange a chat. Perhaps I can
help educate you on the Klamath project since I am a
3rd generation farmer here, have lived here all my
life and do understand how the project works.
Feds declare fishery disaster Salmon cutback
Congress is now clear
to secure direct aid for affected fishermen and
The Oregonian 8/11/06
Friday, August 11, 2006 PETER SLEETH U.S. Secretary
of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced a
long-awaited disaster declaration for salmon
trollers in Oregon and California on Thursday -- a
step that came with no money but increased chances
for a congressional cash infusion.
The federal declaration marks only the second time
that a formal commercial fishery failure declaration
has come while the fishing season was still under
Gutierrez said it already was abundantly clear the
salmon fleet and its coastal communities were
suffering as a result of a broad fishing closure to
protect weak salmon runs returning to the Klamath
When Congress reconvenes in September, it now can
move forward with the Bush administration's backing
to seek millions of dollars in direct aid to
fishermen and coastal businesses hit by the 85
percent reduction in the length of the fishing
season. Gutierrez blamed five years of drought for
critical conditions in the Klamath, a river that
originates in Oregon and spills into the Pacific
Ocean in California.
"This is very good news," said U.S. Sen. Gordon
Smith, R-Ore. "What this does is put the ball in the
court of Congress to come up with the money."
No one would speculate how much money could come
from a gridlocked Congress, but the most credible
estimates of need put the number at $30 million or
more in Oregon and California. At least three bills
seeking money for the fleet have failed to move
Fishermen, who have received little in the way of
assistance despite promises of help, greeted the
"It's a step in the right direction for us," said
Kevin Bastien, a salmon troller from Newport who
pilots the 40-foot fishing boat Gal. "Right now I'm
tuna fishing to get by. It's going to be a tough
Trollers from central California to northern Oregon
are being forced to drastically reduce their catch
along a 700-mile stretch of coast so that fishery
managers can protect dwindling runs of Klamath River
salmon. Because the fish can be found in the ocean
north and south of the mouth of the river in
Northern California, fishery experts have reduced
all fishing to minimize the catch. Despite
record-high prices, the value of the landings is
expected to be 16 percent of the five-year average.
Fishermen who will be eligible for any disaster
relief fish in the zone from Cape Falcon, near
Manzanita, to Point Sur, near Monterey, Calif.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski, along with Oregon and
California's congressional delegations, has been
appealing to the Bush administration since May for
disaster relief. Thursday morning, Gutierrez
announced his decision in a conference call with
Kulongoski and California Gov. Arnold
"Oregon has responded to this critical need with
direct cash assistance and a jobs program for
out-of-work fishers, but state aid only serves as a
bridge to the day when federal help arrives,"
Kulongoski said in a statement. "That day cannot
come soon enough."
The governor has so far mustered $500,000 for direct
payments to fishermen and $2.2 million in job
assistance. More than 300 applications for direct
aid have poured in.
Glen H. Spain, northwest regional director of the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's
Associations, said approximately 2,000 permit
holders for salmon trolling could be eligible for
assistance, in addition to the ice plants, packing
houses and other related businesses.
"The end result is it will be up to Congress now,
and that is where we have to pin our support," Spain
said. "The feds got us into this mess, and they have
to help get us out."
Few people are expecting anything but further poor
returns for Klamath salmon in 2007, with fishermen
once again facing a perilous year.
Many in the fishing industry blame poor management
of the Klamath River by the federal government and
the Bush administration in particular. In Oregon,
irrigation withdrawals take too much water, they
say, while dams and habitat damage along the course
of the 250-mile stream kill fish.
"This is an important step," said U.S. Rep. David
Wu, D-Ore., on Thursday. "But the situation we are
in is completely unnecessary . . . The ultimate
irony is the substantial closure of the ocean
fishery is only going to save a few hundred fish,
where the water policy kills thousands."
Steve Pedery, of the Oregon Natural Resources
Council, said he was glad to see the improving
chances for relief in the fishing fleet. He said he
doubted that the drought was the real reason behind
the Klamath's problems. Federal water policy is the
real culprit, he said, and it needs to be addressed.
"I just hope we're not right back here looking for a
disaster declaration next year and the next year and
the year after," he said.
Peter Sleeth: 503-294-4119; email@example.com