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“Wheat, Wine and Wild Salmon” to Highlight NW Salmon Crisis

September 17, 2007

Seattle, WA – Smaller fish and shorter seasons characterize this year's disappointing Northwest salmon fishing season. It has prompted Washington farmers, chefs and commercial fishermen to join forces. Later this week, they'll meet to brainstorm ideas for changing current policies to save native fish populations. Jeremy Brown, a salmon troller from Bellingham, believes public discussion is an important first step.

"What we really have to get across to people is the uniqueness of what's at risk here. Yes, you can go to the supermarket and get salmon, but it isn't Washington salmon. It's not going to be fresh, and it's not going to from Northwest waters."

Peter Birk, executive chef at Ray's Boathouse in Seattle says this year, he's bought smaller fish at higher prices to prepare at his restaurant. Birk is hopeful getting these diverse groups together will lead to a better understanding of universal goals.

"I don't think the various entities have a grasp of what each other is doing. They don't necessarily realize the impact that one group has upon the other."

This year, the adult Chinook salmon run was 30 percent lower than the previous year. Former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt will meet with the group and contribute his own perspective at a public event, "Wheat, Wine and Wild Salmon," this Friday in Seattle.

Chris Thomas/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WA