For those of you following the lamentable state of the Klamath River fisheries, there’s a first-rate op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Billy Frank Jr., chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. He writes:

We expect the PFMC to take the only action it can to protect the salmon: reduce harvest. After all, cutting harvest has been the major response to declining salmon runs for the past 20 years. We accept that burden year after year with the hope that some day habitat—the Big H—will be addressed with the same conviction that we have shown in reducing harvests.

We are not in this mess because of harvest. Our harvest management process works.

The upshot, as you can probably guess, is that the only way to ensure the salmon will persist in the Northwest is to address the thorny and issues that degrade salmon habitat. Without suitable habitat the salmon runs dry up and fishermen bear the economic brunt of decisions that were made literally and figuratively upstream from them. A fair approach would take a hard look at irrigation, dams, development, and all the other contentious problems that affect salmon habitat–“the big H.” Or as Frank puts it:

Salmon recovery begins and ends with the Big H.