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ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SALMON RECOVERY: AN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT?
Lackey, R T. ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SALMON RECOVERY: AN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT? FISHERIES. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, 30(3):30-32, (2005).
Throughout the southern region of western North America, many wild salmon stocks have declined and some have disappeared. The decline was induced by an extensively studied and reasonably well understood combination of causal agents. The public appears to support reversing the downward trajectory for wild salmon, yet, according to many experts, the long-term prognosis is poor for maintaining even today's level of wild runs. Effecting any change in the long-term downward trend for wild salmon is probably futile in the absence of substantial shifts in core policy drivers. Key core drivers that society can control are both macroeconomic and microeconomic in nature. An example of a macroeconomic core policy driver is the "free market - free trade" doctrine of commerce that is likely to continue to dominate public policy. An example of a microeconomic core policy driver is the nature of our individual lifestyle choices and priorities which demonstrate that salmon recovery is not a particularly high priority for most people. Without substantial changes in a suite of interrelated core policy drivers, the status of wild salmon through this century will likely continue the well-documented downward path of the past 150 years. There are options that are likely to be ecologically achievable and appreciably less socially disruptive than current wild salmon recovery strategies, but these options also have much more modest restoration objectives, require extensive hatchery intervention, and/or involve creating protected areas.