Friday, January 30, 2009

Avast, Ye Miners!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM


Aye, ye gravel grovelers, ye watery wastrels, ye ramblin' rogues of the deep! I'll sink yer dredges and steal yer gold, ye dirty river rats! Ye say yer dredges don't hurt the fishes? Excuse me, but I think yer arguments are bullshit! Aaarghhh!

And thus spake Sen. Pat Wiggins, although it's true that we may have garbled her words a bit as we struggled to hear her speak over the roar of her trusty pirate ship as it sped up the Klamath River last fall toward battle.

But Wiggins' displeasure with the California Department of Fish and Game came across quite clearly this week as she reacted to the agency's rejection of an emergency petition to halt suction dredge gold mining on various rivers and streams, including some on the Klamath River Basin, in order to protect vulnerable species of fish. The petition was filed by the Karuk and other tribes, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and several conservation groups. Wiggins said:

California's once-thriving salmon populations have plummeted to the point that they face extinction unless we take immediate action. It will take courage and bold action on all our parts to bring the fisheries back to healthy levels ...

[I]t's time for our government to step up. If the Department of Fish and Game is unwilling to place the burden of rebuilding fisheries fairly upon all users, I will continue to take legislative action to get government to do its job.
Here's how the petitioners reacted on Monday to the rejection.

The Sacramento Bee also chided the DFG  in an editorial yesterday, saying in part:

No doubt global warming, dams, logging, pesticides and other human activities kill fish and destroy habitat, but the bulk of the science strongly suggests that suction dredge mining harms fish, too.

As salmon populations dwindle, the state agency charged with protecting them protects gold miners instead.
Need a refresher on the petition?

And, uh, it was Dan Bacher at IndyBay who cleverly used the pirate photo first.

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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