You are here:
SALMON AND THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: TROUBLESOME QUESTIONS
LACKEY, R. T. SALMON AND THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: TROUBLESOME QUESTIONS. Presented at Lecture at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, January 12, 2007.
Throughout the Pacific Northwest and California, all wild salmon runs have declined since 1850 and some have disappeared. A sustainable future for wild salmon remains elusive. In response to requirements of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the Canadian Species at Risk Act, and other legislation, billions of dollars have been spent in a so-far failed attempt to reverse the long-term decline. Each year, hundreds of millions of additional dollars are spent in various salmon restoration programs. How can nearly everyone be in favor of restoring wild salmon, as opinion surveys consistently indicate, while the long-term prognosis for their sustainable future appears to be so grim? Has society reached a point where it will conclude that sufficient resources have been allocated to an abortive bid to save wild salmon? Or, as the Endangered Species Act apparently specifies, will society demand that protection and restoration of wild salmon trump all other societal priorities, regardless of individual and collective angst? Fisheries biologists and other scientists continue to help craft restoration plans, but technocrats are unable to offer any easy, painless approaches that will actually restore and sustain most runs of wild salmon. There are restoration options that are likely to be ecologically viable and appreciably less socially disruptive than current strategies, but these options also have more modest restoration objectives.