Born Free USA Blog
The icons of the Pacific Northwest ... big trees, big mountains, orca, salmon. The icons we have so much reverence for, yet are not-so-slowly hacking, poisoning, starving, and eating to their deaths.
I was born and raised in Seattle and,as a wildlife advocate, it literally eats away at me to see the demise of the things I love about it here. The trees have been replaced by McMansion housing developments; the glaciers I have hiked since I was a child are disappearing; the resident orcas of Puget Sound number just 86 — the population in drastic decline from poisoning by PCBs and starvation from lack of salmon. Perhaps most iconic of all, the salmon can be found on our state quarter, but don’t bother looking in our waters. They are not there — because we have eaten them all.
People have unsustainably harvested salmon for years. We have poisoned their water, blocked the paths to their spawning grounds, infected them with diseases from escaped salmon farm “frankenfish,” and more. We have been highly cognizant of their demise. And yet you still find salmon on the menu of most every restaurant, deli, taco stand, BBQ, and, yes, even coffee shop.
This is why I find it shocking and ridiculous that the Fish & Wildlife departments of Oregon and Washington have decided that, in order to save the remaining salmon in one area, it was necessary to kill sea lions feeding on them.
Armed with the information that less than 0.4-4.2% of salmon at Bonneville dam were being eaten by sea lions (as compared to 18% of salmon in the same area being consumed by birds) they proposed shooting the sea lions so the salmon could get past the dam. In the same breath, the government then increased salmon fishing quotas by 33%!
Being that we in this area have all been through this before, there was a public uproar, lawsuits were filed and now ... we find ourselves watching a “compromise” that, instead of killing wildlife, has us stripping away their freedom, wrenching them from their families, and putting them in little glass boxes at zoos and Sea Worlds for all the world to gawk at.
If that weren’t bad enough, they’re dying before they even get there.
And all of this is happening, we’re wiping out the dregs of the remaining salmon population, so that we can fill our ever-growing bellies. There’s absolutely no excuse for it and we and our public officials should be ashamed. I wish more people would speak up and DO something. Isn’t it worth giving up a few bites of food to save a species that is the bedrock of life for so many?
It’s that simple and my logic is sound. The logic of the government is as false as these, also iconic, words from “Chief Seattle”:
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”