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Available online, and at
Island Press or Amazon & bookstores
Available online, and at
OSU Press or Amazon & bookstores
Faith in Nature:
The Missing Element in Salmon Recovery Programs

Jim Lichatowich, Columbia City, OR
Richard Williams, Eagle, ID

    Large declines in the abundance of wild salmon and steelhead and their subsequent listing under the federal Endangered Species Act led to the use of hatcheries to maintain the sport and commercial fisheries. To some of us who have worked on salmon recovery in the Columbia River, the steadfast adherence to the hatchery remedy to the salmon’s problem is hard to understand. The extensive use of hatcheries has occurred in spite of scientific evidence that hatchery operations are detrimental to wild salmon and steelhead and in spite of the failure of hatcheries to mitigate the loss and degradation of habitat. We examine this conundrum through a review of the nexus among the declines on Pacific salmon and steelhead, shifting baselines, and a flawed conceptual foundation. The practice of shifting baselines in the face of major declines in salmon abundance has led to belief that the productivity of natural salmon production systems is not adequate to meet expectations. We characterize this belief as a loss of faith in nature, which inevitably leads managers to the hatchery alternative to natural production. 

An abstract from The Osprey: Journal of International Federation of Flyfishers - May 2015
This website maintained by Paulette Lichatowich
“Salmon are part of the natural commons; they belong to all of us, and we have a shared responsibility to ensure their persistence. This collective responsibility can bring citizens of a community together for a common purpose.” ​- Jim Lichatowich