“Treaty tribes have helped cut salmon harvest by 84 percent”

Georgiana Kautz, the Nisqually Tribe’s natural resources manager, had a good opinion piece on harvest published in the News Tribune yesterday:

Imagine if each year, everyone who harms salmon was required to talk about the effects of their actions – all the developers, the water withdrawers and the polluters sitting together counting how many fish they hurt and how they can reach a balance.

Even Safeco Field wouldn’t be big enough to handle that kind of crowd.

Yet that’s what the tribal and state co-managers do every year in planning salmon fisheries. Right now, the co-managers are in the middle of the annual monthlong process of crunching numbers and balancing interests, the hard work of saving salmon.

…The reality is that tribal and state salmon co-managers have been cutting harvest for more than 30 years to protect weak salmon stocks. Since 1976, for example, the total chinook catch in Washington ocean and Puget Sound fisheries has been cut by 84 percent. This has come at great spiritual, cultural and economic expense to the treaty Indian tribes in Western Washington.

Does anyone seriously think that, over the same period, habitat impacts on salmon have decreased 84 percent?