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Care About Wild Salmon's Future? Grab a Fork and Eat One!

Submitted by: Earthjustice

Categories: Environment, Green Products & Services

Posted: May 02, 2007 – 04:18 PM EST

 

As Pacific salmon season begins, renowned Chef Alice Waters leads 200 chefs nationwide in plea to U.S. Congress to protect wild salmon habitat

WASHINGTON D.C. - May 2, 2007 — As the 2007 Pacific wild salmon season gets underway, U.S. consumers who cherish the prized fish are being urged by chefs and environmental groups to show support for their favorite fish by eating more of it.

A national campaign, led by renowned chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in San Francisco and backed by 200 chefs nationwide, calls on Congress to protect Pacific wild salmon habitats. A letter signed by the chefs will be presented to legislators at an event on May 8 in Washington D.C. in honor of wild salmon.

While this year's wild salmon fishing season is expected to be better than last, the long-term outlook for the native fish and fishermen is uncertain.

"Wild salmon is one of the few wild foods we still regularly see on the dinner table," said Waters. "They have an exquisite, delicate flavor and eating wild salmon can connect you in a beautiful way to the sea. But only a long-term commitment to protecting and restoring salmon habitat will ensure that Pacific wild salmon remains a natural resource."

The chef's letter to Congress requests that legislators take steps to protect the declining Columbia and Klamath fisheries by restoring healthy habitat for wild salmon. Select chefs also are promoting the issue in their local communities by speaking out at gourmet food events and celebrations of wild salmon. They are encouraging consumers to show legislators that this issue is important by creating increased demand for the fish, frequently asking for it in restaurants and at markets.

"As a proponent of local, seasonal and sustainable foods, I view wild salmon as the canary in our coal mine," said Greg Higgins, owner of Higgin’s Restaurant and Bar in Portland and recognized among the city’s top chefs. "They portray our ability to support bio-diversity and live in harmony with nature. Our communities and their economic and environmental health hinge on sustaining the viability of these amazing creatures."

May 8 Washington D.C. Event

The Tuesday, May 8 event, sponsored by Earthjustice, Save our Wild Salmon, Trout Unlimited Alaska Trollers Association and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, will be held at the Stewart R. Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington D.C. from 5:30 until 8 p.m. In addition to select chefs and representatives from the salmon fishing industry and retail fish markets, other special guests will include Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Why are Wild Salmon at Risk?

One main reason for uneveness in salmon populations on the West Coast is the degradation of wild salmon habitat. For example, the Klamath River's population of fall chinook salmon, or king salmon, reached such dangerously low levels last year that the fishing season along the coast from Monterey, California to just south of the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon was severely cut. In fact, a 90 percent reduction of commercial salmon fishing along 700 miles of coast was declared.

Some west coast king salmon populations have been suffering due to a decision by the current administration in spring 2002 to continue maximum water withdrawals from the Klamath River in Oregon to serve Klamath Basin farmers. This occurred despite already low water levels in the river resulting from drought, and warnings from federal biologists and others. The resulting low flows and unhealthy conditions of the river decimated native salmon populations. More recently, federal mismanagement of Columbia and Snake River salmon stocks had led to restrictions on salmon fishing off the coast of Washington.

Consumers can find wild salmon recipes and urge Congress members to take action to safeguard salmon habitat at www.earthjustice.org/salmon, www.wildsalmon.org and www.whywild.org

Note to media: Participating chefs are available for phone and in- erson interviews and wild salmon cooking segments. See contacts below.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 612-338-3900
Phone: 612-338-3900
Cat Lazaroff Earthjustice
Phone: 202-667-4500/c:202-365-1329

 

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