By Albany Tribune -- (August 11, 2011)
Over 1,000 businesses have asked President Obama for decisive change in the government’s policy to restore endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
“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.”
The request comes in a letter released earlier this week, following U.S. District Judge James Redden ruling on August 2, 2011 finding the administration’s current salmon plan illegal.
Salmon are a mainstay of economies and jobs for the entire west coast. The letter signers from across 34 states include commercial and recreational fishing businesses; outdoor retailers and equipment makers; food, farm, restaurant and tourism businesses; and clean energy businesses.
“Sportfishing 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 Sportfishing 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 1000-plus businesses ask the President to begin collaborative talks among all stakeholders “to craft a lawful, science-based plan that restores salmon, protects this important food source, puts thousands of people to work, and helps to build a cleaner energy future.” Their letter is also being delivered to members of Congress.