Dollars and Cents

Dam Removal Benefits - Fishing, Hunting and Recreation    
ESA restrictions fixed by the low numbers of wild Snake River salmon currently constrain sport, commercial and tribal fishing in the ocean and in the Columbia River would be disconnected after delisting. More fishing opportunity would result adding tens of millions of dollars into Oregon and Washington economies. The commercial value of Snake River spring chinook, also known as king salmon, is the highest of all of the salmon sold because of its rich fat and oil content and superior taste.

Recovery of wild salmon and steelhead also will enhance fishing opportunities in the Clearwater and Salmon River Basins in Idaho. Studies have shown that in excess of $100 million in economic activity could come to rural Idaho if anglers had access to areas not currently open to fishing. For example, the Salmon River Basin in Idaho supported about 200 miles of fishing for spring/summer chinook in 2010, compared to the 1950s, when anglers had access to over 1,000 miles.

Areas open to salmon fishing are not consistent from year to year. Fishing access is highly dependent on the abundance of both wild and hatchery salmon and steelhead. When runs are fully recovered, communities will be able to depend on productive fish harvest activities year in and year out. Wild salmon will add to the economic stability of rural Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

A free-flowing lower Snake River in Washington will add to recreation, hunting and fishing opportunities, contributing to local economies. Salmon and steelhead fishing will increase substantially over the limited reservoir fishery that currently exits. What is good for salmon is also good for white sturgeon, a highly prized prehistoric fish that grows to lengths of more than 6 feet. If the dams were removed, the range of white sturgeon would be enhanced by 150 miles, and new fishing seasons with harvest quotas might be opened for that species. As it is now, it's all catch and release.

Snake River White Sturgeon
Cindy Barrett photo

©2011 Snake River Salmon Solutions
Designed by YourSolution.NET, Inc.