PCFFA’s Habitat Protection Program

“The increasing loss of fish habitat, to pollution, unwise development and other human activities, is the single largest long-term threat to the future viability of the marine fisheries of the United States … Protection of habitat is the cheapest investment the nation can make to sustain productive fisheries…”

—— From Hinman, K. and C. Safina (1992). Summary and recommendation. In: R.H. Stroud (ed), “Stemming the Tide of Coastal Fish Habitat Loss.” Marine Recreational Fisheries Symposium 14:245-249. National Coalition for Marine Conservation, Savannah, GA.

PCFFA is involved and fighting for fishermen everywhere on a wide variety of regional and national habitat protection issues. More than 75% of this nation’s entire $152 billion/year fishing industry depends upon the health of this nation’s inshore or nearshore environment. These are the nursery grounds for the vast majority of all the species of fish and shellfish caught in US waters. Without clean water, healthy watersheds, biologically productive estuaries and wetlands, and unpolluted oceans, most of this nation’s fishing jobs would utterly disappear!

As it is, habitat losses to date already cost our industry an estimated $27 billion/year — enough to support 450,000 family wage jobs. The west coast salmon fishing industry (including both commercial and recreational components) has already lost an estimated 72,000 salmon-produced family wage jobs over the last 20 years. These losses are directly related to widespread inland habitat destruction and mismanagement of federal hydropower and irrigation dams. According to the American Fisheries Society, more than 106 major salmon runs in northern California and the Pacific Northwest are already extinct and another 214 are at risk of extinction in the near future. Current estimates are that unless northern California and Northwest land use practices change substantially, that eventually Pacific salmon will all but disappear from the lower 48 states — just like Atlantic salmon have already disappeared from the east coast.

Commercial fishermen therefore must fight to protect wetlands, estuaries, old-growth salmon-producing forests and healthy river ecosystems. We must fight for abundant clean water and pristine oceans. As commercial fishermen, we must always fight for our right to exist. If we do not, our industry will be gradually strangled to death and snuffed out, for if we do not speak for the fish — who will?

As the largest representative of west coast commercial fishermen, PCFFA has never been shy about taking on these problems. We led the charge to put a stop to west coast oil drilling in prime fishing grounds. We were key players in passing major water reform legislation for the Central Valley Project (the “Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992”). PCFFA played a key role in improving private land forestry and grazing practices in both California and Oregon, and on all west coast federal lands, to protect key salmon runs. We are fighting in Congress almost daily for better fisheries habitat protections all across this nation and in every coastal state.

PCFFA’s habitat protection program is now expanding and being carried on by its sister organization, the Institute for Fisheries Resources. Please jump to IFR’s Home Page for more information on our efforts on behalf of the men and women of the commercial fishing fleet to protect fish habitat throughout the country. You can go directly to the Institute’s Home Page by clicking here: