HSU Alum Weighs Salmon's Future

Oct 17, 2006

Dr. Robert T. Lackey, Humboldt State University alumnus ('67) and now senior fisheries biologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon, is among the editors of a new book published by the American Fisheries Society titled "Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon."

The book lays out a series of policy and strategy choices, including radical ones, to restore sustainable wild salmon levels through 2100 and beyond.

Dr. Lackey, who earned his B.S. degree from HSU in Fisheries Biology with high honors, worked with a team of 33 salmon specialists from various fields who participated in a four-year international project to produce the book for decision makers and the general public. It presents a host of practical ways to preserve wild salmon runs, without advocating a particular policy.

The predicate of "Salmon 2100" is that billions of dollars have been spent in failed attempts to reverse the long-term decline that set in about 1850 throughout California, Oregon, Washington State, Idaho and southern British Columbia. Dr. Lackey acknowledges that some of the radical options would be difficult to carry out, "especially those requiring changes in the Endangered Species Act. "Ultimately," he says, "it is the public who will decide. We have provided scientifically sound policy options that would likely be successful."

The American Fisheries Society describes the book's conclusions as "both grim and hopeful," but the participants were unanimous that current efforts to preserve wild salmon runs, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, are bound to fail. "Fisheries biologists and other scientists continue to help craft restoration plans, but a fast, easy fix has remained tantalizingly out of reach," the society said in a statement announcing the book's release. Opinion surveys show strong public support for restoration and large resources are devoted to it, but the long-term prognosis for a sustainable future is bleak.

The book can be ordered from the society online for $39.00 at http://www.fisheries.org/.