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Herald and News 4/25/06

How many suckers does it take?

Over the past years, many decisions have been made which affected a major segment of Klamath County, namely farming. These decisions were made under the assumption that suckers were endangered and this causes undue hardships for local Native Americans.

On a recent fishing trip on Upper Klamath Lake my partners and I enjoyed a warm calm day. The tranquility was broken only by bad jokes and an occasional “fish on” announcement, which was then followed by more bad jokes. The highlight of this afternoon was observing several spawning suckers near a rocky shoreline along Highway 97.

In this same area we unfortunately snagged four suckers, three of which were quickly released unharmed by experienced catch-and-release fishermen. Naturally, we wondered how many suckers were in this area that some were being snagged similar to fishing the Rogue River. Our experience would have been properly documented if my aging brother had remembered to put a camera in the boat. These fish didn't show any signs of living in a distressed environment.

How many suckers does it take to become endangered? Are the studies that proved suckers were eligible for endangered species status available for public review? Or was the listing merely an instrument similar to spotted owl's impact on wood products industry that was eventually proven false.

Jon Faries

Klamath Falls




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