OP-ED (Crosscut): The politically unifying potential of salmon

If there is any issue Democrats and Republicans in Washington State should come together on, it’s salmon.

Salmon play a major role in our state’s economy, wildlife diversity and cultural heritage. In Washington alone, salmon help support nearly 16,000 jobs and a $1.1 billion annual fishing economy. Salmon alone provide over 134 million dollars of economic output to Washington state each year. They’re also a keystone species to 137 other animals, including orcas and bears.

Unfortunately, the lowest counts of Pacific Northwest salmon in history — and a 60 percent decrease in the population since 1984 — now significantly threaten the essential role of salmon. 

Despite this, Gov. Jay Inslee, the state legislature and our federal officials have done little to curb this problem and refuse to set aside partisan politics.

Benji Backer