Netting on the Sound

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by CLO, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. I flew over the sound today and saw atleast 7 separate nets strung out for hundreds of feet at the mouth of the Nooksack. I also saw a fish dam ( a permanent cement structure with nets) off the coast of Orcas island. If the state was serious about regulating salmon harvesting they would start with the nets. It's pretty ridiculous looking down and seeing 95% of the mouth of a river netted off...
  2. Welcome to Bellingham
  3. yeah, some crazy chit
  4. All Tribal... State can't do anything about it. They set there own season, quota, regulate, and enforce themselves.
  5. Mmmmmm,humpies,Mmmmmmm coho at your local Haggens , Safeway, or the grand opening of Wallyworld in Mount Vernon
  6. I have said this before, and I will say it again.

    I am not a fisheries biologist, but...

    What needs to happen as soon as possible is to Close the entire inside (everything from the Start of the Straight in...) to everyone, Commercials, Native Americans, and sportys. This includes rivers.

    We should try this for about 5 years. Then we can see what is really going on with the ecosystem.

    Sorry if I offend, but that is truly the way to save this resource and do the most good with the least amount of time...


    In 20 years there will be nothing but hatchery fish if we keep this shit up.
  7. Hi,

    I walked to the Ballard locks with my son a couple of days ago as we often do and the Tribal folks had multiple nets strung all the way across the outlet. Only a couple of fish were in the viewing area but lots flopping around in the nets. As a former fisheries biologist I am pretty familiar with the Bolt decision and in prinipal the treaty seems fair. That said when I see the gill netters or purse seiners out when there are so few fish around things do not seem to add up. Pehaps it is that commercial fishing is so visible and one sees so many fish caught at one time it somehow seems worse than the several thousand sport boat fishing the sound on a given weekend or the thousands folks fishing the rivers. As for gill nets it is my personal opinion that they shoud be banned. With the Salmon stocks on the brink of failure in Puget Sound the non-selective nature of gill nets certainly will accelerate the stocks demise. Then there is the size selection issue with gill nets. Why are Puget Sound fish so much smaller than BC and other places? I also question the practice of using modern equipment and selling fish commercialy as it seems at odds with the principle of "traditional" fishing rights. The PR from the tribes is that these fisheries are for subsitence and tribal tradition puposes. BS

  8. I spent a week in Seattle in August. I've posted a couple of times concerning my distress concerning the Puget Sound area. I'm not a biologist either, but I've been around enough water to know that something is very wrong in Puget Sound. I agree that "traditional" harvesting of Salmon doesn't seem to be the same as selling Wild Steelhead to grocers. As long as these beautiful and unfortunately, tasty creatures are viewed as food items instead of game fish the situation will only get worse. In The Gulf of Mexico, outlawing netting of Spotted Seatrout and other species dramatically improved the populations. At one time, Redfish were "harvested" in Florida for animal food, fertilizer, etc. What a jewel Puget Sound must have been 300 years ago. I wonder if the sewage outlet at Discovery Park ever appears on a tourist brochure. Have the Indians set a date for a "Last Salmon" ceremony or are they waiting for Whole Foods Market to give them the go ahead.
  9. Yep, this is pretty standard for that river. Every year they net the piss out of the lower reaches. I truly believe the Nooksack could be a good fish producer, but I've heard as much as 50-70% of the fish in that river are harvested. With the hatcheries and netting in that river it's basically managed as a put n' take.
  10. Here's my understanding of where we are:

    A treaty was signed between whites and natives. That treaty was upheld in the courts up to and through the Federal system. The specifics of that legal finding can be explained by attorneys on the forum. There are thousands of sport anglers and miles of nets.

    Spawning and rearing habitat has been degraded or destroyed. There will be increased pressure on habitat as the population of this area increases. More demand for forest products may also further degrade spawning habitat.

    Salmon and other fish species are a limited resource.

    So what is the realistic solution?


    Where do we start? I haven't got the foggiest idea. Perhaps one solution is to buy a greater portion the resource from NA's while it's still in the water? I don't know. That's all I can come up with. There are many people much smarter than I who probably have better strategy about what can be done.

    It's also possible that this is as good as it's going to get and the future of salmon fishing (and many of target fish species) is a declining sport.
  11. The Nooksack appears to be managed as a hatchery river and not a recovery river.

    I hope we start with mark selective harvesting and greater presence in the NOF process. We can not change the co-managers but as other groups, like the Colville tribes become better at harvest, releasing more wild fish then maybe someday, I hope the Nooksack could recover.
  12. Seems like whaling would have had every bit as much cultural significance as fishing to most coastal tribes, so it's a bit odd that we're not seeing fleets of loosely regulated diesel powered whaling ships with explosive tipped harpoons plying the waters for whales and selling the meat commercially, irrespective of their ESA status, for cultural purposes.
  13. The nail has been squarely hit and driven right into the coffin.

    Watch closely and you will see the end of it all.
  14. The NF Nooksack hosts a run of the tiniest native coho I have ever seen....
  15. It's all habit right?!

    Bellingham is a tight knit commercial and treaty fishery and will take some time, but I do think change is doable. I am not giving up.
  16. I'm actually writing a debate right now in Debate/Speech class in school about Tribal Fishing laws. Some girl chose "protecting tribal fishing and hunting rights" as her authorship speech, and I chose to be the opposition for the topic. Little does she know what she is up against lol. Can anyone provide me some photos of nets strung across the rivers/beaches? Thanks in advance. Oh yeah, last week a friend invited me onto his boat to (downrigger) fish right outta Shilshole. As we went through the locks, we couldn't believe the amount of nets in that little channel outside the locks. They had nets stacked up like every 10 feet or so, tying them onto every object on the beach. It was pretty cool watching the salmon jump around the boats as you're going up/down in the locks too.
  17. This issue seems to come up quarterly. So, let me type real slow and see if you can follow. Because of the Boldt Decision, the treaty tribes (those that signed treaties ceding huge amounts of land in return for maintaining their usual and accustomed fishing and hunting access) are entitled to half the harvest. What this quantity will be is set at the infamous North of Falcon meetings between the various fishing interest groups, WaDFW, and the tribes (as co-managers with WaDFW), except with the tribes, there is a lot of backroom dealing. If the biologists state that there are 10,000 coho above escapement on a particular river, half, 5000 fish "belong" to the tribes. The other 5000 are caught by commercial trollers off the coast of Washington, B.C., and SE Alaska, by recreational boats along the coast, by boats out of Neah Bay, Sekiu, Everett, Seattle, and even the occasional flyfisher off Point No Point. etc. Many of these (especially on the coast and north) are mixed-stock fisheries; not only are hatchery fish harvested, but wild fish as well, from both strong and weak stocks.

    The tribes harvest their share at the rivers, at their "usual and accustomed areas". In the end, it makes no difference if the tribes catch their 5000 in one day in a single huge net or in dribs and drabs over weeks or months. Those 5000 are theirs to harvest. [When you think about it, wouldn't you rather have the tribes catch their quota rapidly via wall to wall nets and then stop or to be constantly in the way, but at lower frequency???] If you are concerned about harvest, it is more than a bit shortsighted to focus on the tribal catch that you can see and ignore the deaths by 1000 hooks of the other 5000 fish that are happening beyond your little world. In fact, because the tribes are catching their share of the quota at or near the terminal area, one can be reasonably sure that their effort is focused on those stocks which have some quota available, as opposed to the mixed stock fishing that happens elsewhere on wild fish from weak stocks and strong stocks alike.

    Here are the questions you should be asking, in my opinion.
    1) Are the escapement values for a specific stock in a specific river adequate for sustainable returns, especially in the face of environmental fluctuations (in the rivers and in the ocean) and habitat loss?
    2) Are the estimates of returns accurate enough to determine, reliably, the number of "excess" fish, fish above escapement targets, that are available for harvest?
    3) How do we know when these excess fish have been harvested and does each side "trust" the other side to harvest only their share? And remember, the "tribes" are not one unit, but fiercely independent groups, some better run, some not so much.

    After Boldt, whining about tribal fishing effort may be popular, but it is also useless. When the state has treated the tribes as adversaries, they got their butts handed to them. You may not like the treaty, thinking that some groups got a raw deal, but that is the deal that our government signed. I don't think that the tribes want to catch the last salmon, but for a variety of valid historical reasons, they have little reason to trust WaDFW (or us). Yet, if we don't hang together, at some point, we'll all hang separately. And no one will have any fish.

  18. To question #1 - It would appear that the obvious answer is NO. My personal view is that escapement values are based on the wrong factors (fecundity, genetic diversity, expected survial). While these factors are of course important, I believe others are as important, if not more.

    Historical returns represent a biological equilibrium, and they are orders of magnitude higher than what we allow today. I think one important factor that continues to be overlooked is the number of dead carcasses that is required to adaquately fertilize a river bed for the benefit of the next generation. An undernurished or undersized parr/smolt is not going to exhibit good ocean survival.

    Understandably, letting "excess" fish die and rot in the rivers is a tough sell, but I believe it needs to happen. The commercial fishermen are quick to blame degraded habitat for reduced run sizes - not overharvest. It seems likely to me that overharvest is a very important factor in habitat degradation.

    Whatever the actual cause, if we continue to take as many fish as our current models allow, we are leaving no buffer for the unknown and we will continue to watch them all dissapear.
  19. many, many issues in this debate. first off MSY denies darwinian thinking in terms of survival of the fittest. MSY is ALL about harvest! secondly, no one is interested in denying the indians their 50%, only the means used to achieve that harvest level. third, no one at the state or federal level is interested in enforcing the law regarding harvest of currently listed ESA fishes.

    stir this pot and what you end up with is extinction, happenning right now at a river near and dear to your black fly fishing heart. just another example of the corporatization of the USA!

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