Wednesday, November 03, 2010

We learn a hard lesson about salmon

From miracle fish to unwanted compost.

That's the story of the man-made University of Washington salmon run once celebrated and now being mercifully extinguished from their home on the University's Seattle campus (right).

They are Lauren Donaldson's "Fish of Rare Breeding."

There is probably not a better illustration of our changed thinking on salmon.

Where once we thought we could built a super fish that surpassed nature's design, the University has announced their plans to kill these fish to save money and avoid sending the backwards message that salmon don't need natural habitat to thrive. It's about time we ended this failed experiment.

In 1976, Lauren Donaldson was king of the (salmon) world, and I was an 18 year old college student working on my dad's commercial salmon fishing boat out of Newport, Oregon--fishing what was the last great year for Oregon's coho salmon fishery. Since then Oregon's coho salmon have spiraled downhill into near-extinction and protection as a threatened species. Harm caused by salmon hatcheries are a major cause of Oregon's salmon tragedy. Ooops.

Now, the man is dead, his salmon are getting a mercy-killing, and I'm a conservation advocate raising the alarm over things like these hatchery salmon and the outdated thinking that created them.

There's a lesson here in creating the Green Economy. We have to be smarter and more careful than Lauren Donaldson.

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