Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steelhead Summit Alliance

Yesterday was the Steelhead Summit in Seattle.  It was a great meeting with the focus on concerns over the hatchery supplementation during and after the Elwha River Dam removal.

It was great to meet some new faces and BS with some familiar faces.  The highlight for me was listening to Bruce Brown speak.  I remember reading "Mountain in the Clouds" almost twenty years ago and it having a huge impact on my beliefs about wild fish and the important role they play.  In times where good news about wild fish is often hard to find, it was interesting listening to him describe the way fish managers and most people thought about salmon in the late 70's - early 80's.  This was a time where wild fish and genetic diversity were not even considered in management decisions.  Hatcheries were not questioned by the vast majority of scientists, managers, or anglers.  How things have changed.  Consumers are more educated about wild fish in the marketplace.  Wild fish are much more valued by all of the varying interest groups.  There's a long way to go in getting the actual changes made on the ground, but the battle of the minds has almost been won when it comes to wild fish and diversity.  I hope in the next few decades we see the on the ground changes in management that will actually help us restore some of the lost wild fish diversity.

As I was getting ready to leave I realized that the two authors who have had the most impact on me as an angler were standing only a few feet apart.  It was an honor to be able to speak with both Bruce Brown and Bill McMillan.

It was another great opportunity for interested parties to learn more about the issues and have questions answered by the sources.  Thanks to all involved for putting together another great Steelhead Summit.

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