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97% Decline in Salmon and Agribusiness

California’s fall salmon run has declined 97% since 2002, according to a front page article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the “Salmon Summit” happening today in Half Moon Bay. Meanwhile the Sonoma County wine industry complains about the State Water Control Board’s proposed regulations to protect the salmon and pressures the Board of Supervisors to offer weaker regulations. Hence, the important public hearing this Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2:30 at the supervisors.

A “federal disaster” has been declared with respect to salmon and Rep. Jackie Speier describes the situation as “an absolute catastrophe.” The last 8 years have seen “the loss of billions in salmon sales and an estimated 23,000 jobs,” according to the Chron. article. Meanwhile, a winery here has published a flawed study without peer review that fails to take such information into account, but complains that if the water taken by the wine industry for frost protection is regulated, it would cause losses to the wine industry.

“This is a public resource that belongs to the American people,” salmon fisherman Pietro Parravano maintains. Meanwhile, wineries here continue their illegal taking of river, stream, and groundwater that condemns the salmon to death. Today’s salmon summit has a direct connection to the ongoing water wars here in Sonoma County between competing interests for limited water.

“Today’s meeting will place much of the blame for the salmon demise on California’s multibillion-dollar agriculture sector,” the article reports. According to Rep. Speier, “This is large agribusiness.”

Hopefully there will be a report in various dailies, such as the Chron and San Jose Mercury News, tomorrow about today’s summit. Please considering attending Tuesday’s public hearing in Santa Rosa.

Shepherd Bliss