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Pallone Calls on Bush Administration to Reexamine Salmon Policies

February 9, 2005
Press Release

"At a time when the Bush administration is proposing the elimination of 150 federal programs, it is somewhat ironic that its final salmon plan released last November actually proposes $6 billion in additional spending just to continue with a recovery plan that will, in all likelihood, not do anything to increase wild salmon populations.

"The Bush administration's salmon plan not only makes no economic sense, it hurts people and it hurts the environment.

"In particular, it hurts Native American tribes that have for centuries subsisted on a diet largely made up of wild Pacific salmon. As the Washington Post pointed out recently, the Karuk Indians of northern California used to eat 1.2 pounds of fish per person per day -- what amounted to quite a healthy lifestyle. Since dams and irrigation appeared forty years ago, however, salmon have become too scarce to catch and too pricey to buy. The Karuks are no longer able to have a diet rich in salmon and the tribe is now plagued by obesity. The Bush salmon plan continues a sad legacy of depriving the Karuks -- and numerous other northwestern tribes -- of what had been not just their livelihood but a critical part of their lifestyle.

"The Bush salmon plan also hurts what had been a thriving commercial fishing industry. According to the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, as many as 10,000 jobs have been lost since 1991 due to salmon declines. The Bush administration tries to rationalize their salmon plan as necessary to preserve the regional economy, but they are blind to the dramatic negative economic impacts they are already having.

"Finally, the salmon plan hurts the environment. A wide body of science shows that we need a dramatic increase in salmon populations for an extended period of time for the fish to truly recover. Rather than developing a plan that would lead to such a recovery, the administration thinks they can get away with simply avoiding an increase in the rate at which salmon populations are spiraling towards extinction.

"The Bush salmon plan very simply makes no sense. That's why I'm glad Jim McDermott, Sam Farr, Earl Blumenauer have joined me and 68 of our colleagues in sending a strong message of opposition to the administration's plan."