Nisqually eats another boat

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Jon Borcherding, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. i have a reply from the gentleman from the indian fishing commission who works with mr franks inviting me to give him a call to discuss this matter.

    if any one has specific questions you would like me to pose, please post away. i will wait a couple of days to insure you have sufficient time to make your posts.

    of course, i will report back as well.
  2. Lemme start a new thread for this. I think this will be a pretty good forum to get some education out to folks as well as giving some good feedback to the tribes... BTW, I sent a PM to you about the subject... Lemme know if this accurately portrays what you are trying to do...
  3. Jon,

    As much as it apparently pains you, no, I don't have any evidence that the gillnetting performed by the Nisqually Tribe is causing any, repeat ANY, decline in Nisqually River salmon or steelhead. The Nisqually is deliberately managed at an unsustainable harvest rate for chinook salmon for the simple reason that the preponderance of the chinook are of hatchery origin, and originate from the Tribe's hatchery. Surplus hatchery chinook escape the intensive gillnet fishery and spawn naturally, making an unknown contribution to total chinook salmon productivity. The hatchery currently maintains a strong chinook run.

    The Nisqually chum salmon run is either entirely or predominately of natural origin. If it was being over-fished at an unsustainable rate, then it would show a declining trend. Last I heard, the Nisqually chum run is meeting spawning escapment goals and maintains its sustainable status.

    I really know nothing about the Nisqually coho salmon run.

    Nisqually steelhead are in the toilet. The river has been closed to steelhead fishing since 1993. While some steelhead are poached, apparently by both treaty and non-treaty fishermen, there isn't enough evidence to even circumstantially lay the blame for the run's status at the feet of fishing. All Puget Sound steelhead runs are returning at rates below their mean and certainly below maximum smolt to adult survival rates. All indications suggest the causitive factor is early marine survival. With the Nisqually River being near the southern terminus of Puget Sound, it's more than reasonable to infer that it may suffer the consequence of this factor more than rivers further north, since they have more early marine rearing area to travel through. If you follow the PS steelhead run status, generally the health, as indicated by survival, is better in the north sound than the south sound rivers.

    You've entierely misconstrued my attitude. My attitude and my fish management philosophy is to seek the truth and go where it leads me. I do this employing only logic and critical thinking skills, as absent of emotion as I can possibly maintain. It's essentially less exciting, almost to the point of boredom for some, but it consistently yields the most accurate assessments. Let's float the Nisqo and talk some.


    Salmo g.
  4. What research has been conducted to determine if tribal gillnetting has had a detrimental effect on the Nisqually's wild fish stocks? When was this research completed and who funded it?
    I'm not laying the blame for declining steelhead runs at the feet of tribal gillnetting. I'm saying that if the runs are "in the toilet", as you put it, then perhaps it's time to take a look at the practices of the only user group that is still allowed to kill steelhead on the Nisqually River and that group is the tribe, is it not?

    Lastly, I would be delighted to float the river with you any time. Two or three days notice is usually all I need.

  5. iagree

    Or can't we at least change the name of this thread! It started off as a note about safe floating on the Nisqually and has taken on a life of it's own.

    The sad thing, is this topic has been covered again and again and again on the board. What will affect netting practices most? The fish, when they're gone then we can gaurentee the netting will stop! Or until there is enough political pressure to overturn Boldt..
    Now we're over here on this thread slugging it out and, yes, this topic has been covered before. Apparently there is still quite a bit of interest. Some of us believe that the netting is a problem. It seems like the biologists don't agree with us. One thing is certain, we won't change anything by ignoring the issue.

  7. Jon,

    So far no one has suggested doing scientific research on tribal gillnetting to answer what is essentially not a scientific question. Biologically speaking, fishery managers mainly care that sufficient spawners of each species escape to spawn and maintain fish runs. The surplus fish that are harvested from a population are just as dead regardless of the method of harvest. That's one reason why you won't find any fish biologists around here who have the kind of problems with treaty Indian gillnetting that many sport fishermen seem to - because the reasons are emotional rather than biological, provided spawning escapement goals are being achieved.

    The Nisqually Tribe has no net fishery targeting steelhead in the Nisqually River so far as I know. They do have an extensive chum salmon fishery that in a good year may overlap some early returning wild steelhead. A handful are caught in that fishery, and as you might begin to expect here now, no fishery biologist believes that imperils the population. It sure doesn't do it any good, but incidental bycatch that don't measurably impact populations are considered acceptable in nearly all fish management situations.

    Poaching no doubt takes a share of wild steelhead each year, and as far as the best information has it, poachers come in both treaty and non-treaty flavors. The number of fish poached is unknown, but is believed to be below the threshold of imperiling the run. How do we know this? In fact, we don't. But we estimate that to be the case because poaching occurs on nearly every river system, and steelhead population assessments indicate that the take isn't great enough to significantly harm the population. How much is significant? Significant would mean would could at least measure the effect. Generally we cannot measure the effect; therefore we think it's insignificant.


    Salmo g.
  8. Jon, I believe you started this thread, so if you're fine w/ it my point about the thread direction is moot. However it has been discussed quite a bit and I have read much of what has been written on it for the 4 or 5 years I have been on the board.

    I totally agree that a change will not occur w/o involvement, however this appears to need attention at a federal level or from a group that is willing to pay for it to work it's way up to the federal courts. Given the poor environmental record of the current administration and the general public's level of interest in an issue like this, I am pessimistic that the change can take place. You, I and most of the people on this board are interested, but as a whole, we are a very small group.

    I have read the other thread and think it's great to get those questions answered! Good luck! I will get involved when I can and try to keep informed on the topic in general.

  9. Yup, they've done a great job maintaining the fish runs. :rofl: So wouldn't increasing escapement numbers increase the numbers overall? It's not emotional dude, at least from me. I want to see more fish just like the tribes and everyone else. All I see is an arselod of tax dollars being dumped into this and no results with biologists telling us everything is fine as long as we get our escapement numbers. It is not fine when fish are being added to the protected list.
  10. The lifecycle of the fish doesn't just end with the spawning of the steelhead, it's a new beginning for each of the eggs. There is a certain carrying capacity of the habitat for each life stage of the fish.... If increasing escapement only makes it so there is surplus over what the carrying capacity of the habitat can support, the extra fish in the eyes of many do go to waste.

    Indeed, in some rivers increased escapement would probably help as the habitat is relatively close to being "historically" pristine. But in others, it's debatable at best if additional spawning would help at all...

    The jist of all of this is: Spawning escapement is important, but it is only one part of the puzzle.
  11. I am a firm believer in large escapements. Let them take a crack at what ever they feel comfortable spawing in. In sea-run species the adults may return many seasons. In salmon that die, the rotting bodies don't go to waste as this fuels the entire river bed ecosystem.
  12. Then Shouldn't the fish and habitat be determining what the carrying capacity is instead of the WDFW and tribal biologists? Maybe instead of having someone sitting on his can counting fish, someone could hand him a shovel, chainsaw and send him out to restore spawning habitat? :confused: I dunno, I'm no biologist but doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity.
  13. I'm a bit confused by your statement, but none the less the spirit of what you want is good.

    The reality is, the biologist *need* to be sitting on their can to do their important bit of work. i.e. taking data and synthisysing the data into something that can be enacted into policy. Now what the politicians do to make policy, based on (hopefully good biology) is another thing entirely. Also realize there *are* competing interests for the fish. On one hand, surplus fish is good for sport fishermen as we can catch them (C&R does have some mortality), and on the other commercial interests would like to catch them for commercial sales (speaking of SALMON ONLY). Also, please realize that our view (as I TOTALLY WANT HIGHER ESCAPEMENTS) are only a single view point. Hence that's why I made the statement: "Fish that exceed required escapement are wasted if not captured". It's human centric view, and one a lot of us don't agree with. But none the less, it does provide the foundational premise for a lot of our escapment models (MSY, MSH)....

    These are orthoginal interests that have to be balanced by good policy. Bio's don't make policy, but help shape it. You want to fix things, fix the policy, and debunk industry cronies who make their money by supporting junk science.
  14. Me too.

    I do not know how to fix the problem. Like I said, I'm not a biologist, but I am capable of seeing that there is a problem and apparently the people we the taxpayer and License holders are paying to take care of it either do not know or can't fix it either. I'd say that it is time for some house cleaning. The WDFW and the Tribes co managment of the fisheries is a joke. I've seen the phrase "The fox guarding the henhouse" thrown around here quite a bit. I couldn't agree more with that statement. A third party needs to be involved to keep these guys honest. That may be the angle you were looking for to get congress to intervene with Boldt :confused: The WDFW andTribes are not managing wild fish, they are glorified fish farmers.

    How much income does a guy who just knocked off a bank declare on his income tax form? Probably about the same as the number bycatch that is reported. :confused:
  15. It's super tough, because for a majority of people, fish are a commodity, not a resource. If you read the Boldt decision, you'll very quickly see that the fish are treated no better than a resource that is endless and can be exploited purely for commercial interests. Boldt has *NOTHING* to do with conservation, and *EVERYTHING* to do with harvest. For the *most part* this is also how our fisheries are run.... Then again, even C&R isn't a conservation tool, all it does is maximize our game fishing opportunities....
  16. BJG,

    It may surprise you that points of view differ in that regard. WA state law includes the mutually conflicting requirements of fisheries conservation with maintaining viable commercial fisheries and recreational fishing opportunity. Any fish bio worth his salt can conserve fish populations if allowed to do so. However, the law is interpreted according to the $$ spent on lobbying the Legislature, and commercial fishing gets restricted, but not nearly as much as some in the business would like. Further, no bio or WDFW Director in WA has ANY influence on pre-terminal salmon harvests in BC or AK. That is handled via the US Dept. of State, and AK acts like an independent nation in the two nation US - Canada treaty.

    It may also surprise you to learn that increasing escapements doesn't necessarily lead to larger subsequent run sizes. It does if run sizes are under-escaped, but it doesn't when a specific run is adequately escaped. Run size is determined by limiting factors. The limiting factor is that specific factor limiting a specific fish population. For some, like sockeye, it might be available spawning area or the lake the juvenile fish rear in. For PS chinook it often seems to be early juvenile estuary rearing habitat. For coho and steelhead it seems to be either summer rearing flows or overwintering habitat, depending on the river basin and the seasonal hydrology. For pink and chum it seems to be a combination of spawning habitat and estuary rearing habitat for juveniles. And for all of them, marine survival, which varies all the time, can easily exert a 5-fold difference in run size. More fish on the spawning beds leads to a larger population up until the next limiting factor controls the population size. Which is why I said biologists generally don't care how surplus fish are caught or harvested. We just want to make escapement mainly.

    You can say it's not emotional. Alternatively it could be due to being uninformed. Give me a reason why fish biologists don't have the heartburn about treaty gillnetting that so many sport fishermen express. I haven't seen one, not one, biologist in three fishing forums I peruse express the concern, let alone the conviction that so many sport anglers have that treaty gillnetting is wiping out salmon or steelhead runs. Either we're all stupid, or we're better informed and react logically rather than emotionally to the subject.

    You make the excellent point that things are not good when fish are being listed under the ESA. The reasons for listing may include overfishing that occurred in the past, but in most cases the fishing rates today have already been vastly reduced in WA, perhaps not so much in BC and AK. Fish that are being harvested at extremely low rates are still declining. I'm talking about rates that low fish populations readily recover from provided they have suitable habitat in sufficient quantity and quality. Habitat issues are the leading cause of ESA listings. Even the commercial fishermen who would do well to further reduce their impacts to fish populations are right when they point to habitat as the central issue.


    Salmo g.
  17. I have already admitted that I am uninformed. :rofl: There is only one way to become "informed" and that is to talk to people who know what they are talking about. That is what I'm attempting to do. I really appreciate you putting the time in to deal with my naivety concerning this situation. I am simply a concerned tax payer and voter trying to understand exactly what is going on. The only emotion here is maybe anger at the state and federal government but That is not strictly related to wildlife issues.

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