Fishermen protest to restore the Klamath River and the salmon season on the Pacific Coast.

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This morning in San Francisco, about 100 fishermen protested to restore the Klamath River and their salmon season on the Pacific Coast. They blame the current salmon shortage on the Bush administration’s mismanagement of the Klamath, which runs through California and Oregon. They were joined at Pier 47 by representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), who will introduce a bill tomorrow to provide $81 million in disaster relief to fishing communities.

Fishermen have been up in arms since the federal government announced in
February that it was considering shortening the salmon season because of dwindling numbers of Klamath River salmon.

Fishermen and scientists say the dams on the Klamath River hurt fish. “There’s every good reason to take [dams] out,” Glen Spain, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), told the San Francisco Chronicle this month. “They heat the river to lethal levels, and they’re breeding grounds for toxic algae and C. shasta, the parasite that kills the salmon.” Those river conditions helped cause
massive fish die-offs in 2002 and 2003.

Also, starting in 2001, the Bush administration began diverting increasingly large amounts of Klamath River water for agriculture, leaving less for salmon. The reduced water has helped magnify the problems caused by the Klamath dams.

(You can read more about the Klamath in Mother Jones’ 2003 article “What’s a River For?”)

Below, you can listen to audio clips of key stakeholders in the debate. (Photos by Ed Homich)

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Donning a salmon headdress Jenny Stormy Statts of Orleans, Calif. attends
the demonstration near Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco Monday.

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A fishing boat displays a plea to remove the dams on Northern California’s Klamath River.

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Listen to clip Commercial fisherman George Boos says he came to the
rally to represent fishermen who were being hurt by federal policies.

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Listen to clip Rally organizer and commercial fisherman Mike Hudson holds a bottle of what he says is deadly Klamath River water.

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Listen to clip Rep. Mike Thompson says Department of Interior
officials refused to meet with him about salmon — and then he showed up outside their office with 500 pounds of dead fish.

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Listen to clip Karuk tribal biologist and dipnet fisherman Ron Reed
connects the plights of Native Americans and commercial fishermen: “What affects me and my people, affects you and your people.”

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Listen to clip PCFFA vice president Dave Bitts says limiting
the salmon season will hurt him personally.

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Listen to eight-minute interview Zeke Grader, executive director of the PCFFA, says the Bush administration is mismanaging the Klamath River.


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