Wild salmon evolved just like anything else. Before we had state sponsored bucket biology, before we had bucket biologists the states would like to prosecute, wild salmon and steelhead evolved for their particular habitats throughout their life cycle. In other words, they evolved in such a way so that they and each successive generation could successfully spawn and rear in their native stream, smolt and migrate in their migration corridor and successfully compete for food resources in the ocean to give them the strength to return to their home stream when the undeniable call home to spawn came.
They were quite great at this and those who lived throughout the regions where these wild fish roamed were the direct and indirect recipients of the wild salmonids' great wealth.
As we are quite adept at doing, first we plundered this great wealth and then we had the hubris to believe we could improve upon it. That essentially takes us through thousands of years to the present day.
Our hubris still intact, the wild salmonid runs, not so much.
There are a myriad of reasons for the incredible decline of our wild fish runs, but they are easily boiled down to our own selfish greed and our hubris in believing we can control the input and output of these fish through our own designs.
I have but one goal with the creation and the continuation of this narrative that is roughly read by some 50,000 people each year.
I want to live in a world where the abundance of wild salmon and steelhead challenges my notion to revere them.
Only when we have wild fish runs of such abundance that the average person no longer thinks of taking a side, for or against our futile efforts to improve upon them and our egotistic belief that we are their saviors no matter what stripes you wear, will this wish come true.
There are things we must do, but for wild salmonids to truly recover, we essentially must erase our metaphorical, yet very real, footprint we have planted in their redds.
People typically revere something only when it is or becomes rare.
That juxtaposed with the never-ending salmon wars will continue to mean we will continue to fight an endless battle over the status quo, of which has been fought very openly for more than 20 years and quite frankly for much longer than that.
I offer a better way. A way that does not necessitate endless and fruitless fights to come up with new ways to not place already jeopardized fish and ecosystems into whatever some legal mind decides means jeopardy today based on the latest lawsuit the government agencies will lose, but will not either be made to nor freely change to effect some small modicum of relief for those wild, imperiled fish.
We must remove ourselves from the equation in order to allow these wild fish the space to recover to the point where our very notions to revere them are challenged so completely that we think no more about them. How great a world we would live in should their great abundance border on annoyance? It seems a strange way to look at it, but constantly looking at the problem-ever dwindling runs of wild fish, always a catastrophic event away from extermination-and if you truly seek a solution, you must admit that a world where your reverence or irreverence (whatever the case) for the plight of these fish is challenged to the brink of the extinction of such notions is far preferred to endless, mindless battles to push today's status quo bar one inch, one way or another.
A good way to begin would be a solutions table. For every problem there are solutions, it is only our unwillingness to act upon solutions that allow problems to fester, to perpetuate.
Only those who seek to acquire or keep power seek to perpetuate problems rather than solve them.
Solutions to the wild salmon recovery problem exist, they have existed for decades, but too many people continue to buy into the lies of those acquiring or keeping power to understand first, they are being lied to and secondly, solutions exist.
You can live in a better world and it can be right here if you so choose.
Make it so.