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''Where's the fish!'' call for new salmon jobs plan

By Colin Ricketts - 10 Aug 2011 17:17:0 GMT
''Where's the fish!'' call for new salmon jobs plan

After a judge ruled that US Government Columbia-Snake River salmon conservation plans weren't legal, businesses affected by the loss of salmon in West Coast rivers have called for action to save the species and thousands of jobs which depend on it.

"Where's the beef!" was once a political rallying call in the United States but now a coalition of businesses is asking "Where are the fish!" as they call on the government to save salmon and support fishing jobs.

A recent court ruling from US District Judge James Redden found that current government environmental plans to protect the Snake River salmon weren't legal and more than 1,000 businesses from 34 states have written to the government to call for action.

They include fisheries and tourist fishing businesses, outdoor goods makers and sellers, restaurants and tourist attractions as well as green energy providers.

"Commercial fishing businesses, and many other related industry jobs up and down the west coast will keep shrinking or shut down if the government's 20-year failure to restore endangered Columbia/Snake salmon doesn't change," said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA). "We ask President Obama to hear our case, hear the court, and then change his salmon policy so salmon-based jobs stop shrinking and start growing."

"Sport fishing creates jobs in every town in our country, and Columbia/Snake salmon and steelhead underlie thousands of those jobs. A practical, science-based, collaborative approach to restoring them will benefit people and salmon. The court's ruling provides President Obama a great opportunity to pursue that approach," said Gordon Robertson of the American Sport fishing Association (ASA).

"Salmon recovery is a catalyst for job creation and growth in hundreds of outdoor and recreation-based companies, on the west coast and nationwide," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. "The more than 175 outdoor companies of The Conservation Alliance all need healthy habitats and watersheds for their customers to enjoy the products they make and sell, but federal salmon policy is not producing them. We need President Obama to change this. It makes no sense to keep spending billions of taxpayers' dollars on a salmon policy that costs jobs instead of growing them."

"Wild salmon are a cornerstone for food and restaurant businesses," said Barton Seaver, chef and National Geographic Fellow. "Customers expect fresh, nutritious, and sustainable salmon, which federal policies are not producing right now. If President Obama changes them, food jobs and healthy eating will both benefit."

The coalition of businesses is calling for talks to formulate a new plan for salmon conservation.

Top Image Credit: © SLocummedia