LETTER: Bring back hatchery program to balance interests of salmon, orcas

One of the wonders of the world is the orca whale.

Beautiful sight to see as they gracefully glide through the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Seen them many times during my fishing trips.

Then the Oct. 30 article in the PDN on their food supply, health and survival [“Scientists: Breach Dams To Save Orcas”] brought me back to the days when I worked for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the abundance of salmon then, when Washington was know as the Salmon Capital.

Before salmon hatcheries, salmon were starting to decline, and visionaries decided it was time to start a salmon hatchery program to supplement wild fish strained by tremendous commercial fishing.

The first state salmon hatchery, where I worked, was built on the Kalama River.

My point: Removing strategic dams on rivers may be a good idea, but as the visionaries of the past looked to the future of the salmon, we look at the future of the orca.

Removing dams will be a nightmare because of divisiveness and politics.

When dams are removed, it will take years for the salmon population to rebound.

We should look at a short-term solution, which is temporarily bringing back the hatchery program by increasing production, which was cut back in the name of saving wild fish.

We need to strike a balance between saving orcas and wild salmon.

We can’t have one-way street.

I don’t claim to be a expert, but if we are to save the orca, we must look at short-term as well as long-term solutions.

Orcas have to eat, and there is no time for politics, studies and divisiveness, which will be the end of the orca, and we may forever lose one of our great wonders: the orca.

Richard Aksamit,