February 01, 2005

Crapo Commends Students On Salmon Study

Talks fishing economics with Riggins students and mayor, Salmon leaders

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has praise for a group of Riggins area high school seniors who are spreading the word about the economic benefits of an expanded salmon fishing season this year in Idaho. Crapo discussed a report produced by students of Salmon River High School during a teleconference with the seniors this week. He was joined for the call in his Washington, DC office by Riggins Mayor Bob Zimmerman and Kristin Troy with the Salmon Chamber of Commerce.Crapo told the group he welcomed their support for an expanded fishing season as he has been working on the idea for several months with Idaho Fish and Game. He noted the dual economic and fishing benefits for Idahoans if Fish and Game can expand this yearâ??s season to a larger area. The proposal awaits federal approval, and Crapo urged NOAA Fisheries in a letter Monday to expedite consideration of the idea.While some economists have predicted a statewide economic benefit of $90 million resulting from a full salmon fishing season, students at Salmon River High School produced their own report by canvassing various businesses in Riggins. During the conference call, students told Crapo they believed their town could â??die offâ?? without the continued economics of fishing, which for example, accounts for 70% of the gasoline sold at the Riggins One Stop market. â??I agree with you that the focus should be on sustainable fishable and harvestable runs of salmon and steelhead,â?? Crapo told the students. â??Riggins and Orofino have for years been the center for salmon fishing opportunities. This year, communities and businesses that support Idaho families in a much larger area may have the opportunity to join in the benefits of fishing dollars. The federal government must also commit its resources to recovering the salmon and steelhead. With half of the regions spawning areas, Idaho is doing its part for recovery of these magnificent fish. There is no guarantee that runs of this size will continue. Idaho fishermen, women, and businesses should share the bounty if even for just this one year.â??Crapo continued, â??While projections show we could see 10,000 more wild fish than last yearâ??s run of spring and summer Chinook, there is no guarantee runs of this size will continue. However, recent returns are encouraging to the extent that the Pacific Northwest is demonstrating the potential of aggressive, non-breach recovery measures that include habitat restoration, properly negotiated flows, main stem improvements, hatchery reforms, and other measures. Collaborative measures of the sort I have been, and will be involved in, need to be intensified to make current returns sustainable for the future.Troy, past president of the Salmon Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of fishing into areas like Salmon, Challis, Clayton, and Stanley could greatly help communities hurt by layoffs and recent forest fires. Editors Note: Digital photos from the Riggins classroom are available.FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267, Ext. 327. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at www.senate.gov/src/radio/crapo .# # #