Letters to the Editor

They quibble while salmon die

Thanks for the story on the sorry state of our salmon ("Salmon run in big trouble," Jan. 30, Page A-1). The old- timers say some years a man could skip across any Central Valley river over the backs of these amazing fish without touching water. I want my son to see those days again and wondered how the stocks could virtually collapse in a year without explanation, given the millions in license money we fishermen pay. Where did all that money go?

So curious was I, an average fisherman and lover of the river that runs through my town, that I went to a meeting of the Stanislaus River Fish Group.

This august gathering of biologists, fisheries experts and wildlife managers was obviously under strain. The meeting was punctuated by loud and passionate arguments concerning the Stanislaus River Restoration Plan, some five years in the making and months overdue. Their contentious topic? The table of contents.

I was stunned. These fools were quibbling over semantics and incomplete research while my river dies. Classic paralysis by analysis.

Pouring drums of oil into our streams would do less damage than the inaction of those responsible for maintaining a healthy fishery has produced. Heads will roll over this crash, sooner or later. No fish equals no people buying fishing licenses.