Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Bob Triggs, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Eric Tarcha gear whore

    Posts: 1,067
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    Jim Chambers received my previous email, I am sure. Yet as a student of marine biology and "conservational biologist" he fails to recognize the peril of the wild steelhead in the populations he is obtaining his fish from. Too me, this stinks of greed.

    please let him know what you think:
  2. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,500
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,700 / 2
    Recently, I saw wild steelhead for sale at the Central Market in Mill Creek. these were ad fin intact fish, but nobody was able to tell me what the origin of the fish was.
  3. Ethan G. I do science.. on fish..

    Posts: 987
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Thanks for his e-mail, Eric. Here's what I sent.

    Mr. Chambers:

    I regretfully inform you that you've stirred up the hornet's nest on this one.

    If you really are the supposed ecologist and conversationalist that you claim to be, can you really look at the run sizes on the Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, and all of the West Coast river systems for that matter, and tell me with a straight face that these fish are in no way threatened by overfishing. I will attempt, most likely in vain, to shed some light on the topic to you.

    There are 3 things that are widely accepted to be the cause of decline in fisheries. They are known as the "3 H's." Habitat, Hydro, and Harvest. Let us take the Quinault River on the Olympic Peninsula, a place I'd bet you've never been, as an example. Number one, habitat; the majority of the length of the river is protected inside the boundaries of Olympic National Park. The availability of spawning habitat is obviously not the issue. Number two, hydro, or dams; for the same reason as the former, there are no barriers to impede the movement of fish to their spawning areas. This too is a non-issue. This only leaves the last "H," Harvest. The commercial fishing industry in the United States and Canada are to blame for the obvious decline in fish populations. Notably the First Nation tribes. They are allowed by law to stretch gill nets across the mouths of the rivers in order to harvest the fish. This practice is non-selective and kills both wild and hatchery-reared fish. By purchasing their catch, you are supporting their non-sustainable practices of harvest. The indiscriminant harvest with little regard to catch quotas, as per the Boldt Decision (Washington Supreme Court Case #9213), will undeniably lead to the collapse of the last "healthy" steelhead and salmon runs in the contiguous United States.

    I realize that as you are reading this you have your wallet on your mind more than the decrepit remains of once great anadromous fish populations, but I sincerely hope that this has at the very least caught your attention. I'm sure you've already heard an earful from these people but it is worth restating: I urge you to contact organizations such as the Coastal Conservation Association and the Wild Steelhead Coalition to get a better understanding of this topic than I can briefly explain in this e-mail. Here is some of the run size data for Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound populations of steelhead, if you are interested.

    Ethan Daniel Green
    (***) ***-****
    Member Coastal Conservation Association
    Member Wild Steelhead Coalition
  4. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,569
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    ..and to summarize that run size data the declining black line that is approaching zero is the actual wild steelhead we are trying to protect. It isn't staying steady at the current number, nor is it improving with current harvest methods.
  5. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,711
    The Salt
    Ratings: +871 / 0
    the habitat of the lower quinault is not protected by ONP and has been heavily damaged by logging... plus the other H - "Hatcheries".

    plus, lower quinault wild winter steelhead were listed as "depressed" in the 2002 SASSI by WDFW

    and while the upper quinault hangs on to a healthy rating with a tiny escapement goal of 1200 fish as of 2002.... it's not like fish runs have been improving in the past 6 years.

    geez, a five minute search on the internet comes up with lower quinault wild steelhead being described as "depressed" by an agency that would call extinction "threatened" and this guy still thinks the run is "sustainable".
  6. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,569
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    Ethan a conversationalist is not a conservationist
  7. Eric Tarcha gear whore

    Posts: 1,067
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    would it be too much to post this guys phone number?
  8. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    Greed, Greed, and More Greed!

    The MSC has not listed the Quinualt as a Sustainable fishery. His link to the MSC site lists nothing on Steelhead in our region. A search of this site mentions nothing on Washington Steelhead fisheries. Yes the Alaska fisheries are sustainable because of PROPER management by ADFG.

    The part that infuriates me is the fact he says that these fish don’t warrant any protection. Take a look at the list. It is one of the few that isn’t threatened or endangered. Just because it isn’t listed, doesn’t mean it is a healthy fishery! “Not Warranted” is not a good term as he implies.
    I am sending an email to Him, The Chef, and the MSC.

  9. Ethan G. I do science.. on fish..

    Posts: 987
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I knew that, stupid error. Whoops. Oh well, too late.
  10. Eric Tarcha gear whore

    Posts: 1,067
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    more info on mr. chambers:

    Jim Chambers is a fisheries ecologist with three decades of public service with the federal government, including 23 years with NMFS headquarters. In its Highly Migratory Species Management Division for his final three years, he was responsible for Atlantic swordfish and billfish. At great personal cost, he exposed the truth about the effects of industrial-scale commercial fishing, which has been condoned by NMFS, on populations of Atlantic swordfish, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, bluefin tuna and other species caught on longlines, drift gillnets and purse seines. NMFS' leadership responded by "putting him in a closet." So he took an early retirement at the end of 1997. However, the information he developed there is being used throughout the recreational and conservation communities as the basis for campaigns to ban longlines from all U.S. waters and for boycotts to remove swordfish from restaurants and supermarkets. He formed and directs Chambers and Associates, a scientific consulting firm specializing in the conservation of marine fish and their essential habitats. Its clients have included leading organizations in both the recreational fishing and conservation communities. He also founded and manages Prime Seafood (, a wholesale seafood company which since 2004 has supplied top quality seafood (only from sustainable sources) to about 70 high end restaurants in the Washington D.C. area, and starting in 2008 to about 50 restaurants in Atlanta and the golf resort areas located throughout coastal Georgia. He can be reached by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx or by e-mail at

    Kind of crazy that he is this passionate about other fish species yet neglects to recognize the PNW wild steelhead as endangered...

    it is amazing what you can find on the internet.
  11. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I spoke to him today on the phone, he was just sitting down for dinner but seemed open to talking. I'm going to call him back tomorrow. I'd like to figure out how important it is that he sells wild steelhead and if there is a more sustainable option like using wild-reared hatchery fish.

    I have no problem with eating wild seafood if it is sustainable but any take of wild steelhead is not sustainable.
  12. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,840
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +717 / 0
    Jeremy -
    I think you mis-understand what I was saying - My reference to the "tip of the iceberg" was referring to the Chambers/prime seafood as only the tip of the restaurant trade that is a major driving the steelhead market.

    Zen -
    I understand your zeal; however from your comment " any take of wild steelhead is not sustainable" am I to assume that you have stopped steelhead fishing? CnR or WSR fisheries result in a wild steelhead take - just ask the feds.

    Tight lines
  13. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,569
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    gotcha Kurt,

    sorry for the misunderstanding
  14. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,264 / 1
    Jim Chambers needs to understand that buying "Quinault" fish doesn't guarantee the fish came from the Quinault River. Last time I looked they net the hell out of the Queets and Chehalis systems as well as netting the Hump. Email sent.
  15. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Wow, looks like we need to stay on Mr. Chambers - for someone with his record it does not add up that he believes OP wild steelhead are a sustainable fishery..

    Ringlee - take it easy on your email to the chef - he's already stated that he is removing wild Steelhead from the menu. He even had the decency to post our complaints on his blog. Seems like stand up guy.
  16. Richard Torres Active Member

    Posts: 1,355
    Mill Creek
    Ratings: +79 / 0

    I give Kudos to all that have spent the time to write letters to those who are miss informed.

    In addition, it might be a good idea to send your e-mails to all of the tribal leaders involved.

    I think they also need to be informed of this situation their members are creating.

    Hopefully they are not turning a blind eye to their harvesting practices.

    If enough people respond they might think twice about how bad this looks on them...

  17. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Speaking of tip of the iceburg.. I don't know if this was posted before and I missed it, but the restaurant in question is far from the only one Mr. Chambers is supplying in the DC area:


    "Wild steelhead will soon be available routinely at a number of popular restaurants in the Washington D.C. area, including:

    Marcel’s, Blue Duck, Cashion’s, Nora’s, Firefly, Poste, Proof, Zaytinya, D’Acqua, indebleu, Johnny’s Half Shell, Agraria, Hook, Mendocino, Pesce, Mark & Orlando’s, Urbana, Kaz Sushi Bistro, Ritz (Pentagon City), Corduroy, Saint-Ex, Circle Bistro, 2941, Dino’s, Ardeo, Chevy Chase Club, Jackie’s, Rock Creek at Mazza Gallerie, Monte Carlo, Cesco, Visions, Black’s and Assaggi."

    Jim Chambers

  18. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    I looked at the blog and Responded. Here are the 2 posts from the blog. I gave Jim the brunt since he wrote the article and is continuing to stand by his false statements...

    POST #1

    Thank you! This decision will pay off for You, Your Customers and the Fish. I encourage you to advertise and educate your customers about this issue. I am sure that this will pay off for your business.

    Thank you again,

    POST #2


    You mention that MSC has declared that the Quinault Fisheries are Sustainable.

    The MSC website fails to mention ANYTHING on these Fisheries and there Sustainability. They list out 38 Sustainable Fisheries throughout the world on their Website. I have linked the Pacific region that would include the Quinault fishery if it were listed.

    I have contacted the MSC to inquire further on the listing of this fishery.

    The Quinault Tribe has rights to fish the Quinault, Queets, Humptulips, and Chehalis rivers. Can you guarantee all the fish you sell come from the Quinault River? You have failed to mention if any of these rivers have sustainable fisheries.

    According to Ann Blakley from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Lower Quinault River Steelhead run was considered Depressed in 2006.

    I have an intimate knowledge of these beautiful rivers. I caught my first Steelhead on the Quinault river when I was 9 years old. I have fished extensively throughout the Quinault Reservation and understand this fishery.
  19. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 4,034
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +710 / 0
    You guys are fantastic: in less than 24 hours things are beginning to change with this situation. Kudos to all who are working on this in an educated and factual way.

    But as Curt so aptly pointed out: It is the tip of the iceberg". So not only does Mr Chambers need to be educated about the plight of our Wild Steelhead, but so does that entire list of his Prime Seafood customers (as noted in the above posts) who are waiting for delivery of fresh caught Wild Steelhead from the Olympic Peninsula coastal rivers.

    A question for all of us here at home to ponder; if the fish in question are being harvested legally by the tribes, and also being sold legally, What are the tribes alternative to this income? How will it affect the tribes to have this income reduced or lost? What can be offered in return? Are we willing to reduce our impacts upon these fish as well? In other words: what is in it for them to stop this behavior?
  20. fishkisser99 Member

    Posts: 96
    Eastsound, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Pfft! Silly NIMBYs! Just picture a meal composed of the below!

    Federal Endangered Species Found In Maryland:
    Swamp Pink
    Sandplain Gerardia
    Canby s Dropwort
    Sensitive Joint-Vetch
    Northeastern Bulrush
    Indiana Bat
    Delmarva Fox Squirrel
    Eastern Cougar
    Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle
    Puritan Tiger Beetle
    Bald Eagle
    Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
    Arctic Peregrine Falcon
    Piping Plover
    Loggerhead Sea Turtle
    Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
    Maryland Darter
    Shortnose Sturgeon
    Dwarf Wedge Mussel

    ...lemme tell ya, you ain't lived until you've had Joint-Vetch stuffed Darter!