February 1, 1999
The strategy's misplaced emphsis on habitat as the key to fish recovery refutes what the deputy director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Andrew Rosenberg, was quoted as saying in the Dec. 15, 1998 Washington Post: "While habitat destruction is important, the weight of evidence points to overfishing as the primary culprit."
Supporting that statement is the Dec. 1997 Outside magazine 10-page article pointing to overfishing as the reason for worldwide fish declines.
Governor Locke should ponder the significance of the fact that in 1900, 3 million tons of fish were caught, compared to 86 million tons in 1989. Couple that with ESA-protected predators, self-regulated tribal netting, and detrimental ocean conditions, and it's apparent that habitat lockup and restoration is not the key.
Worst of all is that destroying livelihoods and lifestyles of farmers, foresters, and small rural landowners is not to save fish from extinction, but to save them for killing by those in one favored industry: fishing. Property rights and land use will be decimated without compensation for the benefit of the fishing industry.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville