The Atlantic Salmon Plan and restoration efforts seem like a wasted effort to many. The efforts of decades have not produced the results we would like to see. This is due in large part to our not recognizing or looking at the big picture. V. Paul Reynolds’ column of March 14 mentions the failure of the newly released salmon plan. I agree in part that the plan alone will not resolve the issues of Atlantic salmon recovery. But the efforts made to reach those goals means we will be accomplishing a lot more than salmon restoration.
What has prevented recovery of the salmon population can be found by looking at ourselves in the mirror. We have compromised their habitat by damming up rivers, polluted and changed water chemistry to make salmon reproduction and survival a struggle and altered the dynamics of their feeding grounds. Small wonder they still have a problem! But the Atlantic salmon can be considered an umbrella species. Bringing the populations back will take a lot more than just being good stewards of our rivers; we need to address the whole natural environment. Providing fish passage, better use of the land and woods through which the rivers and streams flow as well as tracking and addressing the problems in our oceans is a good start. But that alone won’t get us there.
We need to address the real science and causes of climate change, acidification of our oceans as well as all the other environmental issues we know have been magnified by imprudent uses of our natural resources. It needs to be a collective effort, and the responsibility of all of us. We don’t always want to hear or recognize the facts. But any true conservative or conservationist should understand it’s an accountability issue. What might be the result? Cleaner air and water. Abundant fish and wildlife, including brook trout, smelts and herring, bird species and other feathered friends. And yes, new opportunities for economic development, improvements to our outdoor world and hopefully the return of old traditions we have seen diminished. I can’t see how anyone can object to that.
Alan Chubba Kane