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Fraser River Sockeye numbers crashing..Snake River Sockeye improving

Two stories of two different runs of salmon in the northwest today, one from the Fraser and one from the Snake.

Chris Dunagan does a great job covering the crash of the Fraser River Sockeye this year.  This is a critical loss of a year’s fish, and it’s still an unknown cause. Is it global warming? Sea lice? Over fishing? All the above? None of them? Whatever the cause, we have allowed our fish stocks to dwindle to levels that create a very problematic situation when we lose one year’s return. It’s worth remembering that the Fraser has produced millions of fish a year until recently.

To the south, Oregon Public Broadcasting has a story on the return of hundreds of Snake River sockeye to Redfish Lake in Idaho. This is the same run that returned one fish in 92. Better dam water releases, some good snowpack years, etc. have helped. But both runs are in serious danger, and it will take decades to find out if we are being successful. What’s helped the most? Continual lawsuits to force the government to take action over multiple administrations. It’s sad but true that it always seems to need to go to court to get the attention and real focus of the powers that be.

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