All around Washington State, salmon are returning from years in the Pacific Ocean to their home rivers, much to the delight of school children, anglers, scientists, and businesses.
A major annual salmon migration from sea to river happens around the state in the fall. Community festivals, salmon bakes and 10K runs are scheduled to recognize this annual event.
In conjunction with this annual celebration, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office is unveiling a 10-minute video that documents the state’s effort to bring them back from the brink of extinction. The video, State of Salmon: Restoring a Washington Icon<http://youtu.be/uTGndUjkDko>, focuses on why salmon are important to Washington State, the work being done here, and the results of more than a decade of salmon recovery work.
The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office also is releasing six, 2-minute videos that focus on those affected by the decline of salmon populations and those working to restore salmon and salmon habitat, all available on YouTube<http://www.youtube.com/user/WashingtonRCO>.
“These videos help us tell the story of why salmon are important, why they are in decline and what we are doing to stop that decline,” said Kaleen Cottingham, the director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which oversees the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. “Salmon are so important to Washington and hopefully these videos will give people a better understanding of why.”
The six vignettes are:
Hope for Salmon<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWctFEMVxV4>: In this video, former Congressman Norm Dicks, a long-term supporter of salmon recovery efforts, talks about his fishing experiences as a child and the importance of making salmon recovery a priority.
Where Did the Salmon Go?<http://youtu.be/24Li9KikGhM> In this video, Mark Cedergreen of the Westport Charter Boat Association, talks about Westport’s change from the “Salmon Capital of the World” in the 1970s, when the town had more than 200 charter boats, to today’s fishing industry there. “Westport’s a fishing town. It was built on salmon,” Cedegreen says in the video. “If we don’t have salmon recovering or if we lose salmon, we’ve lost part of the foundation of our existence.”
Salmon Fishing: More than a Way of Life<http://youtu.be/T1UbBfPdwPA>: In this video, Marc Jerkovich, a commercial fisherman in Gig Harbor, talks about the importance of fishing to his community. “Fishing has been a part of this community for so long. It’s very important. It brings a lot of money to the community,” Jerkovich says in the video.
A Scientists Perspective on Salmon Recovery<http://youtu.be/QPVVuKkIVmI>: In this video, Phil Roni, a research fish biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with protecting and managing salmon species, talks about development’s impact on salmon populations and the efforts to recover salmon.
Local Solutions to Salmon Recovery<http://youtu.be/3WdOQ3QUC-Y>: In this video, Steve Martin, executive director of the Dayton-based Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, talks about his organization’s efforts to bring different coalitions of his region together for salmon recovery.
We are Related to the Salmon<http://youtu.be/nkaw8ECrJUQ>: In this video, Cynthia Iyall, chairwoman of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, talks about the cultural significance of salmon to her tribe.
Salmon are important to Washington, as a source of food for people and other animals, such as Orca whales, as a cultural icon, and as an economic driver. Many businesses, such as bait and tackle shops and charter fishing companies, rely on the world-renowned Pacific salmon. Today, recreational salmon fishing alone creates nearly $130 million in economic activity each year.
Salmon populations have been declining as Washington’s population has grown. In 1991, the federal government declared the first salmon in the Pacific Northwest as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In the next few years, it listed 17 more species of salmon as either threatened or endangered. By 1999, some salmon populations had disappeared completely and salmon were listed as threatened or endangered across nearly three-fourths of the state.
The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office was established by the Legislature, through the Salmon Recovery Planning Act, and charged with coordinating a statewide salmon recovery strategy. It recently launched an interactive Web site, at www.StateofSalmon.wa.gov<http://www.stateofsalmon.wa.gov/>, that allows people to see how salmon are doing in their community’s streams and rivers.
“The Web site shows that Washington is beginning to see some increases in the number of salmon returning to its rivers and streams. A lot of work is happening in communities around the state to help recover salmon populations,” Cottingham said. “It’s so exciting in the fall to see salmon return to their native streams and to see thousands of people come out to celebrate that fact. Salmon matter to people and people matter to salmon. Without communities pulling together, we’d be seeing salmon continue to decline instead of some salmon populations on the rise.”