October 24, 1997 in City

Canada Blames U.S. For Salmon Losses

Associated Press

It’s U.S. fishermen, not Canadians, who are overfishing endangered West Coast salmon stocks, Canada’s ambassador to the United States says.

Ambassador Raymond Chretien sent a letter Friday to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which did not hear from any Canadians at hearings last month on the long-stalemated Pacific Salmon Treaty negotiations.

Some officials suggested at the hearings that the United States might pull out of the treaty altogether.

“As a number of speakers emphasized in the hearing, a clear and accurate understanding of both the facts and the respective positions of our two nations is key to resolving our differences,” Chretien wrote.

The letter said Canada offered to meet U.S. conservation goals for endangered coho this year but rejected long-term reductions to increase the catch for recreational fishermen in Washington state.

Even so, Chretien wrote, Canada closed its coho fishery in southern British Columbia this year.

Canada also has closed several chinook fisheries since 1995 because of dangerously depleted stocks, but Canadian chinook remain about 60 percent of the chinook catch off southeast Alaska, he added.

“During the last three years, cooperation with the United States on the conservation of chinook salmon has been a major problem,” he wrote.

The document also repeated complaints that Alaskan fishermen caught six times their limit of Canadian sockeye this year, worsening conservation problems in the Nass River watershed.

The treaty, first signed in 1985, has been in limbo for four years and attempts to renegotiate it have become increasingly acrimonious.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email