Though I share the frustration about salmon declines in the Mattole expressed in Glen Councilman's July 9th letter, “Sea Lions Need the Management,” his argument doesn't add up. It goes -- “Sea lions have been killing many of the remaining Mattole River salmon. The people in the Mattole who have been working to save the salmon have failed to kill sea lions or let them be killed. They are thus responsible for the loss of the salmon.”
Sorry, Glen. That's not the way it is. Here's just one bit of history that suggests the existence of alternative factors in salmon decline. I knew an old tree faller who, in the first year of the mid-70s drought (1974) when the big chinook were trapped in pools all over the North Coast waiting for rain to let them move upriver, bragged about killing 88 Mattole salmon over 20 pounds (he left the little ones alone). And he was just one guy. Salmon stocks, already in decline, took another nosedive after three consecutive years of this scenario -- heavy poaching on drought-stranded fish.