Review of "Development of a Regional Framework for Fish and Wildlife Restoration in the Columbia River Basin"

In 1993 the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) concluded that a major shortcoming of the Northwest Power Planning Council's Fish and Wildlife Program was that it lacked an explicit conceptual foundation (ISG, 1993). In Return to the River, the ISG (1996) developed a conceptual foundation for restoration of salmonid fishes in the Columbia River basin. The Northwest Power Planning Council (Council) has continued the process of development of an explicit conceptual or science foundation by articulating a set of eight ecosystem principles and discussing their implications for salmon restoration. These principles are derived from a number of other reviews and recovery strategies for Columbia River salmon including Return to the River. Several current reviews of the causes for decline of salmon in the Pacific Northwest have emphasized the need for an ecosystem perspective as a basis for designing a recovery program for salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The Science Foundation developed by the Council is moving in that direction and represents an important step in the development of a recovery program founded on ecosystem principles.In the Council's Science Foundation, the natural ecological processes of aquatic ecosystems are frequently contrasted with the controlled conditions of agricultural systems. McIntosh (1985) argues that fisheries management abandoned the holistic approach advocated by Stephen Forbes (1887) and emphasized the production of single species. As a consequence fisheries biologists divorced themselves from the major developments in ecology. Fisheries management adopted agricultural goals and the science to support them (Bottom 1997). The agricultural model is more than just an example. It represents the current scientific foundation. It appears that the Council is attempting to depart from the current foundation and reestablish the connection to ecology through this framework document, at least in its fishery restoration program. An emerging consensus in the world fisheries literature questions, at least in large measure, the agricultural model. The body of literature on how to approach sustainable fisheries management is rapidly growing (Stouder et al. 1996; National Research Council 1996; ISG 1996; Mooney 1998). One factor in this rapid growth appears to be dissatisfaction and frustration among resource management professionals and the public with the outcome of historical management programs for many exploited wild plant and animal species (Hofmann and Powell 1998; Lauck et al. 1998). Increasingly, attempts are being made to move from single-species management toward multi-species approaches, and toward incorporating many more elements of the ecosystem in fisheries management (Fujita et al. 1998; Hofmann and Powell 1998; Jarre-Teichmmann 1998). Those involved in salmon management need to be aware that a growing portion of the scientific community is deeply dissatisfied with the science of salmon fisheries management, as it has been practiced in the past (National Research Council 1996). For example,

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