Bush Lies, Salmon Die: President to Blame for West Coast Salmon Crisis
My family is supported by commercial fishing (dungeness crab and king salmon), which is kind of ironic since I am a vegetarian. For the second time in recent years, there will be no salmon season in California. Last year’s season lasted only four days, and the year before that was a complete closure due to the Klamath River. The collapse of the Klamath salmon population was due to Bush’s water diversion policies, that were implemented to get a Republican elected in Oregon. This year’s Sacramento River collapse is also the result of Bush administration decisions, which were followed up by lies to cover up the true source of the problem.
As has happened repeatedly throughout the Bush administration, scientists have been forced to mislead the public about the true cause of the Sacramento fisheries crisis. Government scientists claim that low ocean food supply is the cause of the collapse, whereas independent scientists cite water diversion from the delta as the biggest culprit. Rep. George Miller (D) Martinez explained:
They changed the science, the conclusion of the scientists and what we see now is we’ve closed the entire Pacific fisheries to salmon and the salmon are much more endangered now than they were five, six, seven, 10 years ago.
Although warming may have caused a lack of upwelling in the California current responsible for phytoplankton and zooplankton growth, denying the negative effects of water diversion is irresponsible of the Bush administration. Politics should not dictate or manipulate scientists. We deserve to know the truth.
In related news, a recent effort to truck Chinook salmon failed miserably in California. 75,000 of 180,000 young fall-run salmon being hauled in tanker trucks from Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Anderson to San Pablo Bay died on Monday. The trucked smolts were part of an experiment to see how trucking might boost salmon stocks in the ocean in response to the salmon crisis. Last year only 22,000 salmon returned to the Coleman hatchery, compared to the record number of 450,000 in 2002.
I am tired of the Bush administration manipulating environmental scientists for political gain, whether it is about climate change or fisheries. Massive fish population collapses should not be covered up, and harebrained trucking experiments will not restore our rivers. We need honesty in the face of environmental crisis.
Related posts on the Pacific Salmon Crisis: