This year’s high return of salmon in the Columbia-Snake system is indeed encouraging (“Record return of sockeye,” July 1). But the sockeye producing this record return are not wild, sustainable fish; they’re products of a hatchery.
Snake River sockeye and the 12 other ESA-listed salmonid species in the Columbia-Snake basin are simply not the same runs that once generated billions of dollars in jobs and income to fishing communities and sustained Puget Sound orcas. And none of them are anywhere close to recovery under the ESA.
Most scientists agree that restoring wild Snake River salmon and steelhead requires removal of the four outdated and unnecessary dams on the Lower Snake River. The fact that anglers can now enjoy a few days of fishing for mostly hatchery salmon is good news to some extent, but until we remove these four dams, wild salmon will continue to swim toward extinction.