Northwest NEWS

March 29, 1999

Editorial

Over-fishing is causing reduced numbers of fish, no loss of habitat

   This is in reply to a letter in the March 15th issue of the Valley View, complaining of manure getting into our rivers and killing the fish. Prior to the early '70s, when the Sammamish Valley still had many livestock operations, such as Marymoor, the York, and Mueller farms, to name a few, there was a high census of fish in the Sammamish River and its tributaries.

   Question: Twenty years after farmers left the area because of high taxation and development, the fish population has dropped dramatically? Why?

   Another example: From Fall City to Monroe on Highway 203 in the '50s and '60s, there were 35 dairy farms. Today there are only three. Again, with all this livestock, there were ample fish. Where is all the manure coming from that is supposedly killing the fish? Farmers know the value of this byproduct, as it enhances the productivity of our soil. So, why waste it on the fish?

   It needs to be asked if it is necessary to harvest 85 million tons of fish each year. Why do commercial fishermen throw low value netted fish back into the sea?

   It is a proven fact in areas of the East Coast and Mexico, where commercial fishing is prohibited, that fish numbers increased fourfold. There are no more fish going up the tributaries into the Olympic National Park where there is no farming, logging, or development as in the Sammamish or Snoqualmie rivers.

   Mr. Perez, assistant director of the National Marine Fisheries, stated "It is not so much the loss of habitat causing the reduced numbers of fish as over-fishing."

   I hope this throws a little bit more light on the fish issue.

Ward Roney, Duvall farmer