Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Water Wednesdays | #2 The Fish Economy

Timmy Calvert is a San Francisco fisherman but lives in Dunlap, near Fresno in the Central Valley.  The remaining members of this once vibrant community (from 300 families to 30 in the past hundred years, according to spokesman Larry Collins), have been forced out of San Francisco and generally commute to fish.  Photographed April 11, 2009.
The link between water, agriculture and the economy is the primary foundation for most of the arguments in favor of further water storage and infrastructure.  This, unfortunately, is as it should be.  The vast central valley is almost entirely supported by agriculture, and much of the country is reliant upon California produce.  The food production industry in California is a strategic national resource.

However, water forms the basis of many industries, and the fishing families of Northern California have been experiencing a steady decline for decades.  The link between damn building and decline of fish stocks has been well established.  The fishing industry continues to suffer, but makes less noise than central valley agriculture.

A water development policy that balances the needs of agriculture and the needs of professional fisherman, anglers and the environment is a long way off.  The primary question, 'is there enough water?', is frequently obscured by political interests taking advantage of a crisis partially of there own making.  If we can examine and properly answer that question, we can move on to issues of conservation and efficiency which are the only possible solutions.  We cannot shortchange the environment to save agriculture, or give up on a domestic fishing industry to prop up a domestic veggie industry.  Such solutions are not only morally bankrupt, but also create a fundamental imbalance in a natural system that could have unpredictable consequences years or decades into the future.


Skylier Wear said...
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Skylier Wear said...

Dear Nathan
I love your articles. It's funny my husband and I feel the same way. He just recently applied to the water board for the very same reasons. I will continue to follow you.


Skylier Wear