Top pikeminnow fisherman saves salmon – and earns nearly $70,000
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – This year, anglers caught and removed more than 140,000 northern pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers, protecting hundreds of thousands of young salmon and steelhead from predation while earning more than $1.3 million in rewards, the Bonneville Power Administration said Monday.
Nearly 1,200 people registered to be part of the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program that ran from May 1 through Sept. 30. In total, anglers removed 140,121 of the salmon-eating predators from the two rivers, earning $1,367,398 for their efforts.
The program, funded by the BPA, pays registered anglers $6 to $10 per fish, nine inches or longer. The more fish an angler catches, the more each pikeminnow they reel-in is worth.
Each year, state fish and wildlife biologists also release hundreds of specially tagged northern pikeminnow each worth $200 – $500.
This year, the top angler registered with the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program earned $69,230, catching almost 7,000 fish in just five months.
Northern pikeminnow are significant predators, consuming millions of young salmon and steelhead every year. Since 1991, anglers paid through the program have removed approximately 5.4 million pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The program has reduced predation on young salmon and steelhead by up to 40 percent since it began removing 10 – 20% of the estimated Northern Pikeminnow population.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife collaboratively manage the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program.
For more information about the program, call 800-858-9015 or visit www.pikeminnow.org.
The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer in the U.S. Department of Energy that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov