Netting on the Sound

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

  1. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    I regularly complain loudly about overharvest and abuse from all sides. Rarely on this forum, but anybody who has fished with me for more than 5mins has heard me rant about something of the sort.

    I fully support the tribes' rights to harvest salmon. I even would support that if given rod and reel, for them to have increased limits for subsistence, or whatever use they have for them. My opposition lies with the non-selective gill nets at river mouths for commercial harvest, and inaccurate escapement "estimates".

    I'm also a huge opponent of overharvest, poaching, and overall abuse of the resource from "sport" anglers. I've mentioned before on this site, I strongly believe that a resource education course AND TEST should be required of ALL fishing license holders. When we have thousands upon thousands of clueless, ignorant, careless, casual "fishermen" out snagging, poaching, and keeping everything they catch, regardless if they can properly identify what the fish is, there lies a whole other problem that to me, is every bit as important to address.

    I know that my ability to do anything about commercial harvest is pretty minimal. But spreading the idea of mandating resource education is a goal that I feel is much more realistic.
     
  2. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    Getting information out to the public that reveals the actual methods and conduct that characterize tribal fishing may never change the law, but it certainly has the potential to change public sentiment.

    Very few of the people who support tribal fishing rights in principle are inclined to uncritically support resource abuse in practice. Capturing and publicizing graphic evidence of that abuse may never change the law, but it certainly has the potential to change public sentiment. Maybe the tribes will respond to that, maybe they won't.

    Seems to have worked for the whales.
    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20070909&slug=whale09m
     
  3. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    "Graphic evidence of the abuse"...well we can include commercial fishermen and sports fishermen, including guides, of every stripe in that photo essay as well!

    The basic premise of MSY is that one has an adequate escapement to begin with, a number of fish that is related to pre-exploitation numbers. Originally the MSY science pointed to having escapement goals of roughly 50% of the pre-escapement numbers.

    As an example of how failed the modern application of the MSY model is we can look at how they have winnowed down the Hoh River Wild Winter Steelead runs to an escapement goal of around 2500 fish, and they have routinely failed escapements in recent years. It does not help that the tribes are taking well over 50% of the harvestable fish there either. And it is legal under the curent management plans with wdfw for them to do so. Some estimates of the WW1 and WW2 era fish runs on the Hoh River put the spawning numbers at between 44,000 and 65,000 fish. One can only guess at what the "pre-exploitation" numbers were prior to that.

    But we can look at every great river in our egion and see how the wild fish were winnowed down to nearly nothing; one run at a time, one season at a time, based soley on the goal of continued harvest and opportunity for all fishermen.

    Under these circumstances it would be better if we just closed it down and began working together to preserve and protect what little we have left, for the sake of the last wild fish. as long as the goals are only to support "harvestable numbers of fish", then we will continue to ride the decline into extirpation.
     
  4. herl

    herl Member

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    Evan, I dig your education idea. But I see one big problem with it- A requisite education program would drastically reduce the number of people who buy licences a become fishermen. This would worsen one of the big problems in fisheries management here in the PNW, namely that the sportfishers get no respect. Inspite of the fact that the sportfishing industry is worth more than commercial fishing industry, we continue to get shafted by the managers. Reducing the size of the industry, and the number of fishermen would likely only make the situation more lop-sided.

    It is possible that a smaller number of more educated fishermen would have more political impact, but I don't know..

    Eric
     
  5. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    I believe they would. I think it is better than what the future most likely holds for the growing groups of sport fishermen, and the growing sub-segment who are ignorant of the resource.
     
  6. jimmyjoe

    jimmyjoe Member

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    Just look at the steelhead run on the Cedar River. Oh wait, there are no more steelhead in the Cedar anymore..............
     
  7. CLO

    CLO Bonk Hatcheries

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    .
     
  8. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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  9. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    That is exactly what it is a " Terminal Fishery", as long as they get enough eggs for the hatcheries, they don't care! B-ham bay is open to commercial fishers from from mid sept to the end of oct. 24-7, been that way since I can remember. It's a damn shame! the commercial guys don't even like it! All the fall kings are of hatchery origin, the natives are springs, and they haven't been fished on for 30 yrs. The N. fork springs are comming back pretty well but the S. forks are lagging, a few years ago they were down to 100 spawners.

    If you want to change the way this drainage is managed, you need to call fish and wildlife, your state rep and attend meetings. E-mails don't do it, they are to easy to ignore, they have to answer the phone.
     
  10. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    DING DING DING DING!!!!!!!


    I've asked that question to every biologist I've ever met. Funny, they always change the subject.

    Also, Some dude down the sky not so long ago was walking up and down the banks telling everyone cleaning their fish that it was a $100 fine to gut a fish and toss the entrails back into the water. WTF? I couldn't find it in the regs. Even if it was there, I wouldn't follow it. Has anyone else heard this?
     
  11. nutsack angler

    nutsack angler newb

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    Yeah, no native falls but natural spawners... maybe considering the amount the tribe dumps in to fish on. The tribes have subsistence fisheries on the springs, targeting the N Fork (Kendall) fish but who knows what they're intercepting, including other species (steel) when fishing below the confluence. There are definitely more N Fork springs than S Fork but the majority are hatchery brood stock (clipped and/or tagged) with few naturally returning spawners. But as I'm told it takes time (decades) for brood stock programs to show any colors. Skookum hatchery (Lummi-run) used to have a decent S Fork broodstock program going but cut it a while ago for BS reasons and now are struggling to reestablish it using captured juveniles and raising them to adulthood at Kendall. Stop by Kendall and ask to see the progress... very interesting. I would venture to say that there are currently well under 50 spring chinook returning to spawn in the S Fork, some of which are strays... N Fork springs? hatchery falls? who knows.
     
  12. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Steve and others present the issues very well. I have another observation. Many argue that the NA's shouldn't be using mono nets, using too many nets, etc. Every time we go in that direction to argue it takes us away from a major issue: us.

    It's my thought that non-NA's are pretty much in charge of protecting, preserving and RESTORING spawning habitat. Our history and performance in that area is horrible. We non-NA's can't go around pointing fingers unless we put ourselves at the top of the list as having had huge negative impact on native species.

    I would think that building relationships with all consumers of the resource, getting aggressive with habitat issues, and take responsibility for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe, we'll increase populations of native fish.

    What am I doing trying to write at this time of the morning? I don't know if this even makes sense. Time for more tea.
     
  13. gt

    gt Active Member

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    karl, karl, karl...........so you think you 'in charge' person is going to move up and down the various river systems removing shopping plazas, housing developments and assorted other people environments??????? ain't goin'to happen, now, tomorrow, next year or in this century, in other words never.

    while your point is well taken, the immediate focus MUST be on allowing the ever diminishing 'wild' fish free access to their spawning river of choice. that translates to the abolishment of non selective harvest methods by everyone who chooses to fish.

    the indians are major vilotators of escapement as well as over harvest. ever try and find just what their quota might be or just how many fish were actually harvested??? indian secret! the historic and efficient methods employed by their anscestors were fish traps. simple, effective and they would actually allow an accurate count as well as a proven means of releasing, unharmed, non clipped fishes. this, obviously, means the non indian commercials would also have to get rid of their nets, no free passes here.

    in fact, the very best solution would be to close down the entire harvest for lets say a decade and see what happens. you willing???
     
  14. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

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    Karl-It sounds like you're suggesting some large changes to our contemporary culture, and what we value. All we can do (in our small FF group) is keep up the dialogue, and work on ourselves as individuals, I'm not sure if the majority of the population is up for it though.
     
  15. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Fellas, I worked in the Ecological Section branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a few years. I was able to preserve some wetland areas in Florida and Georgia that are now more important and valuable than they were 30 years ago due to encroachment of humans. We are the source of the problem in habitat destruction. We are the source for the solution. It is important that fish returning to spawn have suitable habitat, otherwise it's pointless.

    Neither Georgia or Florida have marine or estuarine hatchery systems for fin fish.

    Guess why?
     
  16. Leopardbow

    Leopardbow Member

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    I think what you are saying is important, however, it is only one piece of the puzzle for us here in the Northwest. One thing you don't point out is that there is not wide scale gill net fishing in Georgia or Florida.

    We have to go to a more selective means of fishing, then have increasing runs of wild fish returning to the rivers, continue habitat improvements for them to successfully spawn and get some nutrients back into the river for smolt to surive on.
     
  17. johnnyrockfish

    johnnyrockfish Member

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    Ah, the bi monthly thread against netting. In the time it takes to read 10% of the posts you all could have called your state senator to do something about it. Venting your feelings on this website may make you feel better but it isn't going to get anything done. Call or write your electeds, especially those who are up next for re-election.

    JR
     
  18. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Johnnyrockfish touches on an important point however if folks want to affect the situation on the Nooksack or elsewhere we needed to understand the situation.

    The issue on with the Nooksack coho and Chinook is not a question about MSY or selective fishing. Rather something much more insidious management decision(s). Decades ago (1960s0 to facilate intense fishing it was deemed appropriate that basins (Nooksack/Samish and South Puget Sound) be managed for hatchery fish. Because of the high productivity of the hatchery program those areas were subjected to intense fishing (maybe as a high as 90% expliotation rates) to harvest the abundant hatchery fish leaving the wild to fend as best they could in face of that pressure driving to the edge of extinction.

    The result of the this heavy exploitation resulted in the tiny coho seen today. The constant pressure of intense gill net fishing selected for smaller fish (more likely to squeeze through to contribute to the next generation). The same reason so many so coho are seen in South Sound. Secondarily that heavy pressure also resulted in the bulk of the natural spawning coho/fall Chinook were stray hatchery fish rather than naturally produced fish.

    Of course that heavy fishing has been addictive to the fishers success in altering this archaic approach will have treat that addicition as well as assuring that natural selection processes be allowed to work their magic assuring that the naturally produced fish become productive in their habitats. I'm not sure that folks are willing to pay the price that would offer a chance of success.

    Part of that price has to be habitat restoration; nutsack angler mentioned the situation with the spring Chinook in the basin. While they were not declared "secondary stocks" like they coho and fall Chinook they have experienced heavy fishing pressure and had their habitats severely degraded. While it is true that there are more North Fork springs now spawning that spawning population is mostly hatchery produced fish and every generation the natural spawners produce few natural origin adults; in spite in having several thousand spawners the number of natural produced adults can be measured in hundreds.

    While may be possible to move back to a more "sane" management approach the way will be difficult and require a long term commitment. As often the first step in "recovery" requires understanding how we arrived at the current state of affairs.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  19. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    No, there isn't a significant gill net fishery other than for shad, which is fairly significant. There was tremendous pressure to start gill net fisheries. Instead of allowing more gill nets, Georgia shut down the sturgeon gill net fishery. In addition, the commercial shrimp trawlers are a political force to be sure. They pretty much called the shots on access to the shrimp resources. But when sea turtle numbers were declining due to trawl net mortality, the State and Feds worked with the shrimpers to develop extruder devices for the nets. That has had great positive outcome on turtle numbers. The pressure then shifted to, surprisingly, nesting habitat and the need for the general public to step up. Guess what? The public almost didn't do it. Go figure.

    The point is people worked together to protect and enhance fisheries resources. The Georgia marine fisheries people pushed for creel limits and minimum size limits on spotted sea trout and channel bass before the stocks could become depressed. This was supported by sport fisherpeople who wanted to protect their resources. The sportspeople of that State take an active role in their environment and related fish and wildlife.

    Further, there was huge pressure applied to politicians to allow dredge and fill of marshes and bottomland wetlands for housing development. It was fishermen and hunters plus the Auduban and Nature Conservancy that went to bat to stop it. Richard Nixon signed the Clean Water Act and that was when the fun really started.

    The point is, what do YOU do to help? Pointing fingers isn't a solution. Like I said earlier, there are people on this forum who are a h$%^ of a lot smarter than I and I'm sure they can come up with solutions. If not, then just enjoy what we have and know it will continue to decline.

    I lived here in the 1960's. I worked as a creel clerk at LaPush for two summers checking sport fisheries. I saw first hand the open conflict between the State, the Feds and the Indians. The family friend that got me that job was well known to the many Quilleute (sp) Indians I met while working in LaPush. When I say they knew him it was not a good way. In my opinion, a huge opportunity was missed. I guess the court system proved that accurate.

    I'm old enough now to know: in crisis you either pull together and solve a problem or you pull apart and nothing gets fixed. Let's see if there is a workable solution for the fishes' sake.
     
  20. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    That's a damn good piece of wisdom there Karl.

    The part many of us have trouble seeing (and by us I mean sporters, commercials, and first peoples) is that the problem is caused by greed and solved by sacrifice.
    No one seems willing to go there yet. from any side.
     

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