Ray's Boathouse serving wild steelhead (from another board)

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by TomB, Jan 16, 2011.

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  1. thanks for the responses so far everyone!
     
  2. The response from their executive chef about the steelhead they serve. Interesting...

    Thank you for your concern regarding the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are currently offering as a special in our restaurant. We agree 100% with your position that serving unsustainable, endangered and threatened fish is damaging to the future of wild fish and our environment. We actively support organizations, such as Long Live the Kings and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, who work toward preserving our natural resources.



    The Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are serving has been sustainably caught by the Quileute Tribe from the Quileute River and purchased through Key City Fish. The Steelhead is a combination of both hatchery and wild stock that has spawned naturally. Since November 1, 2010, we have served about 134 fish. Many Steelhead populations are indeed endangered or threatened and should absolutely be completely avoided, such as those on the California Coast, Oregon Coast, Snake River, and Puget Sound. However, the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead population is healthy, robust and absolutely not threatened. For confirmation of this please visit NOAA’s website at: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/ESA-Salmon-Listings/Salmon-Populations/Steelhead/.



    The Quileute Tribe is closely partnered with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to aggressively manage this fishery. The state and tribe worked together to produce the Salmon Stock Inventory (SaSI) in 1992. The SaSI is a critical document for wild fish recovery and definitively identifies the status of each wild stock in categories ranging from extinct to healthy. The state and tribe actively works with citizens to catalogue details about habitat and map fish stock distributions. I can assure you that everyone involved, from tribe to state to restaurant, has a vested interest in the preservation of this fish.



    There is considerable conflict between sport and commercial fishermen regarding the regulation of steelhead fishing and we completely understand the frustrations of both sides. We want to stress, though, that the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead we have served was sustainably and legally caught according to the regulations set forth by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and is not endangered or threatened according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.



    Ray’s Boathouse would absolutely never serve endangered or threatened fish. Thank you for your feedback. Please let me know if you have any further questions.



    Best,



    Peter Birk, Executive Chef | Ray’s Boathouse, Café & Catering

    6049 Seaview Avenue NW | Seattle, WA 98107

    206.789.3770 | www.rays.com | rays@rays.com
     
  3. got the same one.

    I have replied back with some of Tom's and Chris's stats about the tribe's "management" of the fishery.

    This guys needs to look deeper and realize that it is not worth serving this fish to his customers.
     
  4. Got the same one. Rebuttal email is in the works. Looks like negative press and perception instead of Science...
     
  5. I just received my response email as well. Looks like they want to take this fight to the public.
     
  6. My data was for the Quinault. The Quiliyute data is available online. "WDFW SaSI"
     
  7. Below find EMAIL REPLY received today from Ray's Boat House in response to my EMAIL to them yesterday a.m.

    Dear Robert,

    Thank you for your concern regarding the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are currently offering as a special in our restaurant. We agree 100% with your position that serving unsustainable, endangered and threatened fish is damaging to the future of wild fish and our environment. We actively support organizations, such as Long Live the Kings and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, who work toward preserving our natural resources.



    The Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are serving has been sustainably caught by the Quileute Tribe from the Quileute River and purchased through Key City Fish. The Steelhead is a combination of both hatchery and wild stock that has spawned naturally. Since November 1, 2010, we have served about 134 fish. Many Steelhead populations are indeed endangered or threatened and should absolutely be completely avoided, such as those on the California Coast, Oregon Coast, Snake River, and Puget Sound. However, the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead population is healthy, robust and absolutely not threatened. For confirmation of this please visit NOAA’s website at: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/ESA-Salmon-Listings/Salmon-Populations/Steelhead/.



    The Quileute Tribe is closely partnered with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to aggressively manage this fishery. The state and tribe worked together to produce the Salmon Stock Inventory (SaSI) in 1992. The SaSI is a critical document for wild fish recovery and definitively identifies the status of each wild stock in categories ranging from extinct to healthy. The state and tribe actively works with citizens to catalogue details about habitat and map fish stock distributions. I can assure you that everyone involved, from tribe to state to restaurant, has a vested interest in the preservation of this fish.



    There is considerable conflict between sport and commercial fishermen regarding the regulation of steelhead fishing and we completely understand the frustrations of both sides. We want to stress, though, that the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead we have served was sustainably and legally caught according to the regulations set forth by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and is not endangered or threatened according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.



    Ray’s Boathouse would absolutely never serve endangered or threatened fish. Thank you for your feedback. Please let me know if you have any further questions.



    Best,



    Peter Birk, Executive Chef | Ray’s Boathouse, Café & Catering

    6049 Seaview Avenue NW | Seattle, WA 98107

    206.789.3770 | www.rays.com | rays@rays.com
     
  8. UPDATE: I received this response to which I have included a reply below:

    FROM RAY'S

    Dear XXXX,


    Thank you for your concern regarding the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are currently offering as a special in our restaurant. We agree 100% with your position that serving unsustainable, endangered and threatened fish is damaging to the future of wild fish and our environment. We actively support organizations, such as Long Live the Kings and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, who work toward preserving our natural resources.



    The Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we are serving has been sustainably caught by the Quileute Tribe from the Quileute River and purchased through Key City Fish. The Steelhead is a combination of both hatchery and wild stock that has spawned naturally. Since November 1, 2010, we have served about 134 fish. Many Steelhead populations are indeed endangered or threatened and should absolutely be completely avoided, such as those on the California Coast, Oregon Coast, Snake River, and Puget Sound. However, the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead population is healthy, robust and absolutely not threatened. For confirmation of this please visit NOAA’s website at: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/ESA-Salmon-Listings/Salmon-Populations/Steelhead/.



    The Quileute Tribe is closely partnered with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to aggressively manage this fishery. The state and tribe worked together to produce the Salmon Stock Inventory (SaSI) in 1992. The SaSI is a critical document for wild fish recovery and definitively identifies the status of each wild stock in categories ranging from extinct to healthy. The state and tribe actively works with citizens to catalogue details about habitat and map fish stock distributions. I can assure you that everyone involved, from tribe to state to restaurant, has a vested interest in the preservation of this fish.



    There is considerable conflict between sport and commercial fishermen regarding the regulation of steelhead fishing and we completely understand the frustrations of both sides. We want to stress, though, that the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead we have served was sustainably and legally caught according to the regulations set forth by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and is not endangered or threatened according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.



    Ray’s Boathouse would absolutely never serve endangered or threatened fish. Thank you for your feedback. Please let me know if you have any further questions.



    Best,



    Peter Birk, Executive Chef | Ray’s Boathouse, Café & Catering

    6049 Seaview Avenue NW | Seattle, WA 98107

    206.789.3770 | www.rays.com | rays@rays.com


    FROM ME

    (see attachment below as well)

    View attachment 38077

    Hello Peter,

    Thank you for your detailed response and your efforts to ensure that Ray's only serves sustainably caught fish species. While the Olympic Peninsula Distinct Population Segment of steelhead are not currently listed under the ESA (per your link below). The runs in several Olympic Peninsula rivers have rapidly declined in abundance over the last decade.

    I have analyzed and graphed data from the Quileute River for you because you said your fish come from there, but I can assure you that the trends are similar if not worse in most of the other rivers. I obtained this data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/snider_creek/snider_creek_data_11-29-10.xls

    The Quileute River run has declined in abundance by 60% over the last decade, at an annual rate of 5% per year. This resulted in the whole river failing to meet its WDFW-Tribes agreed upon escapement goal of 5,900 fish in 2009. In 2009, only 4,733 wild steelhead escaped to spawn in the Quileute. The tribe harvested 1,623 wild steelhead that year (not including their harvest of hatchery fish). Had the tribe not harvested these fish, or harvested less, the river would have met its WDFW-Tribe agreed upon escapement goal. This was true for the Queets and Hoh Rivers in 2009 as well. This is not responsible fisheries management.

    Furthermore, given the recent declines of Olympic Peninsula steelhead and the greater context of range-wide steelhead declines that I alluded to in my prior email, the sustainability of commercial wild steelhead harvest is questionable. Do you really want to serve wild steelhead from the last few populations that remained healthy longer than others until even they are collapsed and listed under the ESA? I hope not. Attached is a graph showing the Quileute steelhead escapement over the last 10 years. The data show a steep decline which is equivalent to 700 fish per year or 5% of the initial abundance per year. The graph shows that the abundance dipped below the escapement goal for the first time in 2009, and given its trajectory, is likely to in the future. The Tribe has harvested an average of 2720 wild steelhead per year over the last 10 years, and still harvested enough wild steelhead to cause the run to not meet escapement in 2009.

    Finally, your comments about some of the fish being of hatchery origin is irrelevant because tribal fisheries, which employ gillnets, are not selective, and are thus equally lethal to hatchery and wild fish.

    I appreciate your efforts to understand the origin and issues surrounding your fish purchases. In the past, this fishery could be considered sustainable, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

    Sincerely,
    XXXX
     
  9. I replied to Ray's Boathouse this morning with the following (modified) reply found on the Moldy Chum web site.

    Dear Mr. Birk,
    Thank you for your reply to my email yesterday. Wild steelhead are endangered species act listed throughout much of their range in the United States. In Washington State, stocks of steelhead in the Columbia River, Snake River, and all of Puget Sound have been listed under the ESA within the last 20 years. Steelhead in other areas in Washington continue to decline. In coastal areas on the Olympic Peninsula where the Quinaults and other tribes fish, rivers are largely protected in the Olympic National Park, so freshwater habitat is in very good condition. Yet in recent years several of the rivers including the Hoh, Queets, Quileute (including the Sol Duc, Bogahciel and Calawah), and others, have failed to meet the minimum spawning escapement goals established by the state. The Hoh river has failed to meet its goal the majority of years recently, and in 2009 none of the above mentioned rivers met their goals, and the Queets missed its goal by more than 1/2, meaning that less than half the minimum number of fish needed to spawn to produce the next generation did so.

    This failure to meet escapement goals is a major conservation issue and could result in coastal stocks being ESA listed eventually too. Yet it is totally preventable. In all of the cases where escapement goals were not met, had tribal harvest been curtailed, escapement would have been met, meaning that the run was large enough to meet the goals but due to irresponsible and unsustainable tribal overharvest, the runs did not meet their goals. I am very disappointed to see your fine restaurant supporting this unsustainable harvest of wild steelhead and would ask that your restaurant take it off the menu immediately. All of the data I have referenced above is available from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife if you would like to see it for yourself. Please stop serving wild steelhead. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
     
  10. Sent a reply. Lets hope this round of emails goes better.
     
  11. sent an email outlying my reasons for boycotting them out today. Hopefully as they hear more voices they will listen
    heres what I sent out today:
    Dear Mr. Birk, I would like to start by saying that I have been a frequent patron of Rays for almost 2 decades. Growing up in Ballard, for me the name Rays is synonymous with great seafood.

    Steelhead are endangered species act listed throughout much of their range. In Washington State, stocks of steelhead in the Columbia River, Snake River, and all of Puget Sound have been listed under the ESA within the last 20 years. Steelhead in other areas in Washington continue to decline. In coastal areas on the Olympic Peninsula where the Quinaults and other tribes fish, rivers are largely protected in the Olympic National Park, so freshwater habitat is in very good condition. Yet in recent years many of the rivers have failed to meet the minimum spawning escapement goals established by the state. In 2009 none of the rivers met their goals, and the Queets missed its goal by more than 1/2, meaning that less than half the minimum number of fish needed to spawn to produce the next generation did so.
    This failure to meet escapement goals is a major conservation issue and could result in coastal stocks being ESA listed eventually too. Yet it is totally preventable. In all of the cases where escapement goals were not met, had tribal harvest been curtailed, escapement would have been met, meaning that the run was large enough to meet the goals but due to irresponsible and unsustainable tribal overharvest, the runs did not meet their goals. The river system where the steelhead you serve originate are in sharp decline, and although fishing continues, total run numbers continue to decline. By purchasing these fish, you are perpetuating a cycle that WILL lead to the depression of these runs to where they too become ESA listed. I have brought this menu choice to the attention of several local, and regional conservation groups, and hope that you continue to hear individuals voicing their displeasure at your continued support of this fishery.
    I am very disappointed to see your fine restaurant supporting this unsustainable harvest of wild steelhead and would ask that you take it off the menu immediately. All of the data I have referenced above is available from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife if you would like to see it for yourself. Please stop serving wild steelhead. As a frequent patron of your restaraunt for so long, it pains me to say that I will be boycotting your establishment until you decide to remove wild steelhead from your menu.

    Please take the time to review more data on this subject. A popular a restaraunt such as Rays taking a more pro-active stance on preserving what we have left of our steelhead runs would make a bold statement about how much we in the northwest care about preserving our natural resources. In the end, I believe your establishment would profit far more from this than you could ever make by serving this fish to your patrons. In fact, by demostrating this, I promise to frequent this establishment more than I did in the past.
    Sincerely, Jason Radany
     
  12. I ate at Ray's on January 8th and their server made sure to point out that the steelhead on the menu were wild and freshly caught in the Quinault river, not the Quileute. I'm not sure whether the server was misinformed or if the chef was dishonest in his reply.

    I had previously been ignorant to the dire facts about steelhead populations and I am thankful for the eye-opening. I am onboard with the cause.
     
  13. Great job so far guys! I think we should also contact Key City Fish Co (info@keycityfish.com). They are the ones who are distributing for the tribes. here is a list of all the establishments Key City Fish Co. supplies to:

    City Fish Company, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA www.cityfish.com
    Jacks Fish Spot, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA www.jacksfishspot.com
    University Seafood and Poultry, Seattle, WA universityseafoodandpoultry.lbu.com
    Madison Market, Seattle, WA www.madisonmarket.com
    Hama Hama Store, Lilliwaup, WA www.hamahamastore.com
    Food Coop, Port Townsend, WA foodcoop
    Silverwater Cafe, Port Townsend, WA silverwatercafe.com
    Fins Coastal Cuisine, Port Townsend, WA www.finscoastalcuisine.com
    Dream City Catering, Port Townsend, WA www.dreamcitycatering.com
    Ray’s Boathouse, Seattle, WA www.rays.com
    Canlis Restaurant, Seattle, WA www.canlis.com
    Flying Fish Restaurant, Seattle, WA www.flyingfishrestaurant.com
    Michael’s Divine Dining, Port Angeles, WA www.michaelsdining.com
    Oyster Bay Inn, Bremerton, WA www.oysterbayinn.com
    Boatshed Restaurant, Bremerton, WA www.boatshedrestaurant.com
    That’s Some Italian Restaurant, Poulsbo, WA www.thatsasome.com
    Silverdale Yacht Club www.yachtclubbroiler.com
    Agate Pass Cafe, Suquamish, WA www.agatepasscafe.com
    Harbour Public House, Bainbridge Island, WA www.harbourpub.com
    Real Foods, Bainbridge Island, WA www.gotrealfoods.com
    Robinhood Restaurant, Union, WA www.therobinhood.com
    Vern's Restaurant, Shelton, WA www.vernsrestaurant.com
    Sanders Restaurant, Grand Forks, ND www.sanders1907.com
    Esca Restaurant, New York New York www.esca-nyc.com
    Browne Trading, Portland, Maine www.brownetrading.com

    Who knows how much other steelhead is being sold out there. Maybe someone can mock up a letter to send to Key City Fish co. (info@keycityfish.com) and we can all co-sign or forward as well.
     
  14. Ryan is onto a great idea, but how about after a skilled wordsmith take this to Key City that we all also contact those on Key City's list in our area to ensure that they are not wild steelhead customers while brining it to their attention that wild steelhead stocks are depressed gravely and Key City is still filling market demand without a more sustainable solution. There are four locations in my area that will be receiving such a message from my personal email account in a few hours.
     
  15. Email sent.
     
  16. Has anyone received a response to their letters?
     
  17. Why don't all you "sporties" blaming the tribes for wild steelhead stock depletion/listings put your steelie rods down and stop fishing wild steelhead? That would help reach escapement by eliminating the impact from catch and release, never mind the amazingly stupid 1 fish retention rule. Maybe we could all take up harassing poachers or calling them in instead of stressing the last of our steelhead stocks. If the logic works for the tribes, then why are you so effing special? You know the trajectory....if you are fishing these stocks you are encouraging that trajectory whether you admit it or not. Blaming the tribes is the worst kind of delusional hypocrisy! If you don't want to eat from unsustainable or depleted fisheries that's your business (I don't) but don't blame the tribes when you are out there en masse creating your own mortalities through C and R stress, recreational harvest and poaching. I gave up fishing for wild winter run steelhead 10 years ago for this very reason so, yes, I can talk the talk, because I have walked the walk. The Tribes blame you, you blame the tribes, the fish go extinct. Nice plan.
     
  18. HOLY SHIT STORM....
     
  19. who do you think kills more?
     
  20. Some may choose this method, like you. Good on ya!

    Every little bit helps, including the ridiculously stupid 1 fish retention rule that should end as soon as possible.

    Maybe more of us are already calling in poachers as our way of attempting to limit poaching and support the protection of the wild stocks. 100% of poached wild stocks being harvested are bonked and removed from the gene pool. I suspect (no empirical data to support my suspicion) that some of those bonked poached fish are tossed into the brush when said poacher(s) see WDFW in the area to save from getting their ass in a sling.

    Mortality figures of C&R is usually claimed to be 5%. I think that 5% is way better than 100%. Don't you (rhetorical, I don't expect an answer from you because you'll undoubtedly call me some insulting names...not that I really give a rip)

    I am not special. I am using a selective gear process with a single line, single hook, barbless at that. I'm not anti tribe, not in the least. I do NOT think that any tribe or commercial entity should be using gill netting, an indiscriminant killer of all fish, wild or hatchery. These nets are not only placed during hatchery return run timing (best timing still will produce wild fish bycatch that will kill 100% of those wild fish because they are using a method that does not allow for 95% survival like my single line, single barbless hook). Still doing the math and still favoring my efforts over the gill nets.

    I'm blaming the end of the supply chain, the consumer. I'm blaming the point before that, the restaurant. I'm blaming the market that sells the fish to the restaurant or consumer. I'm blaming the distributor that supplies the market. I'm blaming the source for harvesting the depressed stocks in mass for the outright exploitation of a resource becasue it is wild and not being harvested sustainably (by anyone using science as support). You say we "sporties" should just put down our steelhead rods and stop. To what end? The fish are still going to die if the process of harvesting them fails to change. Our C&R mortality will discontinue, but 100% caught in gillnets will still die. 100% caught by poachers still will die. The fish will still die. This is your plan. Nice plan!

    Go ahead and flame me now Mister, that is your standard modus operandi. You spout some incredibly articulate and intelligent stuff then rip the shitguts out of someone because they have a position contrary to your own. Today I stand before you as that target because your plan of no action is utter douche foolery.
     
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