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An Idaho Fish Tale “Swims” Across the Country

April 14, 2008

Boise, ID – An impressive Idaho salmon "catch" is sure to be turning heads on highways across the nation. Starting out last weekend from Seattle, an enormous fiberglas salmon is being towed across the country, by a crew that will be sharing the story of this endangered species, as well as the people whose livelihood depends on the fish. King salmon returns along the West Coast are so low this year that the commercial fishing season already has been shut down in Oregon and California, and the chinook salmon season is expected to be restricted.

"Fish wrangler" Nate Grader, of the advocacy group Save Our Wild Salmon, kicked off the tour.

"I think a lot of people are going to have sympathy for the story we're telling about fishermen who are going out of business. Additionally, you know, this is a great environmental story."

Only four wild sockeye salmon returned to their spawning beds at Redfish Lake in Idaho last year. Grader says among the topics of conversation on the tour this year will be the most controversial proposal to save Idaho's endangered salmon.

"It's a salmon crisis and we really need to act now. There are solutions out there, and Snake River dam removal is a big piece of that."

Even federal government scientists have recommended that four hydropower dams on the Upper Snake River be removed because they account for the highest fish kills. However, those against removing dams argue that they are necessary, both for irrigation and hydroelectric generation.

More information about the giant salmon tour is available at www.saveourwildsalmon.blogspot.com.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - ID