Klamath salmon not a distinct population
and News letter by Jerry Jones, Chiloquin 9/9/2020
The Klamath tribal council's recent call for dam removal needs a
Dam removal is not about salmon restoration. Any salmon species
that existed in the Upper Klamath river basin have been extinct
soon after the first Copco dam was built in 1920.
In order for populations to be considered under the Endangered
Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service requires them
to be part of a distinct population segment that is part of an
"evolutionary significant unit."
A distinct population segment is one which is "substantially
reproductively isolated from other conspecific (belonging to the
same species) populations and represents an important component
in the evolutionary legacy of the biological species."
Furthermore, Marine Fisheries is required to identify all
components of a unit, including populations of natural fish
(wild populations) and hatchery stocks.
After the coho were listed as endangered species in 1997,
scientists developed a genetic otolith test that measures the
chemical composition of fish ear bones which, combined with NFMS
microsatellite data, is more than 90% accurate in determining a
fish's stream of origin.
In 2010, Marine Fisheries undertook a genetic mapping of fish in
the Klamath river basin which finished in 2012. To this day, the
genetic mapping results have not been published.
It is time to move beyond anecdotal testimony about salmon in
the Upper Klamath basin and reveal scientific evidence of native
fish. The Klamath Tribes should join me in calling for NFMS to
publish genetic fish mapping results for the Klamath River
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