Wild salmon have no future unless we deal with human population. Since we won't deal with it, the only option left is to get it while you can.
There may not be lodges in WA, OR, and CA but what about 75-100 years ago? Boathouses and such. The problem just moves north. Until there is no north.
At some point, absent drastic changes in population growth, this will almost certainly be true, but I don't see any reason to believe we're at that point now. I get that there are hard limits to how many salmon our troubled rivers can produce (and that those limits decrease as more habitat is compromised by human development), but those limits are obviously significantly higher than the escapements currently being allowed. If that weren't the case, where would the majority of all salmon stocks being caught in open ocean fisheries be coming from? Hatcheries would be a convenient answer, but not an honest one.
I understand there are papers out there that strongly suggest our assigned carrying capacities are consistent with what each system is honestly capable of sustaining, but I believe all the data used to support that argument are significantly skewed by the huge percentage of all stocks that are caught in open ocean fisheries. I don't see any reasonable argument that indiscriminately killing half the adult fish, year after year, before we get any chance to see what is actually returning to each river, provides a strong basis for any assumptions about the true potential of the remaining habitat.
I'm not saying I think changes to the status quo are at all likely. What I am saying is that limiting open ocean, non-selective harvest (to ANY degree) is the fastest, most effective means of increasing returns to virtually every system within the range of Pacific salmon. Even faster than killing babies and our elderly to control our population!
Whether those additional returns translate to sustained increases in future run sizes is another matter, but shouldn't we at least take an honest assessment of that? If there is any hope for salmon, it will depend on us killing fewer of them than what we currently do. That's the reality nobody in salmon management talks about.