Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by miyawaki, Mar 14, 2014.
Still can't post the following, post must be too long.
It would be a bit of a reach if didn't have the better part of four decades of experience in salmon and steelhead biology and management. It's not that my opinion is more important than yours. Rather it's that my opinion is substantially more informed than yours appears to be, if you'll pardon my arrogance. Indeed, my analysis is only of the facts as I know them. Please be so kind as to point out the facts of the matter that are in dispute - that is essential to the resolution of fisheries issues in court, where I also have a bit of experience. And while I don't have everything there is to be known, or that I'd like to know, I'm comfortable that I have, along with other fishery professionals, enough information and analysis to conclude that re-instating the Skagit CNR season will have no measurable effect on future wild steelhead abundance, just as it hasn't in the last 36 years.
My credentials include by fisheries degree from UW, 37 years as a practicing fisheries biologist with salmon and steelhead in WA state, and almost 15 years of that on the Skagit River basin, where at one point I managed a wild steelhead broodstock program for a 4-year period where the incidental hooking and handling mortality amounted to 2%, even though broodstock programs subject fish to far more handling and stress than something as simple CNR fishing under selective gear regulations. BTW, Smalma, who posts on this topic ran a similar program with Sauk River fish spanning more years, with an incidental mortality rate of less than 4%.
Do you really think he and I would be supporting the OS team if we didn't believe they had a legitimate point to make?
rest of post
Further, our steelhead fisheries are in the "mess" they are in for reasons other than harvest management, despite the popularity of scapegoating that factor. Harvest has not been a factor in wild steelhead abundance in the Puget Sound region in over 20 years, and that includes treaty Indian harvest, and that conclusion is supported by data, but I'm sure we could find someone to dispute the data, but they would lack the qualifications to do so. Find me one biologist who believes contrary, and we can discuss this further.
And here we have an instance where the benefits of fishing can be realized without "doing any further harm," but because you lack the information to make an objective analysis, you recommend that society bow to your preference. WTF?
If I thought for a minute that the CNR fishery on the Skagit posed any risk to the long term survival of the population, I"d oppose it in a heartbeat. But the evidence not only is not there, the evidence is exceedingly strong that the CNR fishery simply has no effect on population abundance. WTF should we yield to your moral high ground that is based on emotion, instead of evidence? I'm not worried in the least about the loss of social and economic benefits from not having the season. But I do consider those factors, right BELOW the biology of the organism and the ecology of the system it lives in. And those considerations, which may be aligned as priorities, tell me there is no objective reason not to allow the Skagit CNR season. If the evidence were to change, so would my opinion on the direction management should take.
Let's go for 6! REREAD Salmog's post below mine... seriously!
All that said, why then do the numbers keep declining? The trend lines of the more recent reports on the Skagit have been downward for quite a good many years. If the scientists are going to claim the science and data was from years ago (and is now ) sound, but that policy is not being made based on the science, then what? If it's the loss of habitat and we are in a losing battle to recover that, then what? Seems everyone claims to know all we need to know yet the fish numbers suggest otherwise. At worst, not fishing over them is a loss of mine or others fishing pleasure.
No, we're using current data to form our opinion and even the biologists on this thread admit we do not know all there is to know. We could just go with your gut, but that would be a foolish way to dictate policy.
Makes perfect sense. You've decided to fish over a run of wild steelhead that is barely in existence. And, you want more people down there to harass those fish. Solid thinking.
FSA posted: ". . . why then do the numbers keep declining?"
The simple explanation is that habitat productivity and capacity continues on a declining trend. Well wishing and feel good actions notwithstanding, for all the habitat restoration and improvement projects undertaken, local, state, and federal government approve 9 or 10 habitat degradation projects, although no one actually calls them that. But if one objectively looks around, realizing that 50,000 more people move into WA state every year, it's impossible not to conclude that overall, habitat continues to decline in abundance, not increase.
FSA then posted: " The trend lines of the more recent reports on the Skagit have been downward for quite a good many years."
Smalma pointed out a while back, that when the last 35 years of Skagit wild steelhead data are examined, escapements greater than 8 or 9,000 fish invariably produced less than one recruit per spawner. This suggests that the basin's carrying capacity is over-saturated whenever there are more than that many spawning steelhead since they cannot even replace themselves at a one-to-one ratio. Including the run sizes above this number in the population trend line misleads the observer as to what is going on with the population. This also doesn't mean that 8 or 9,000 steelhead is the appropriate or necessary escapement to fully seed the carrying capacity of the basin. By most indications, we have seen that escapements in the 4,000 - 6,000 spawner range adequately seed the habitat, and empirically we observe that the 2009 escapement of little more than 2,500 spawners seeded it well enough to result in a runsize of 8,600 in 2013 - that's not quite exact because not all adult steelhead are 4-years old, buts it's close enough for this discussion.
Removing the outlier years of very large and very small returns from the trend line suggests that wild steelhead productivity is fairly steady and hasn't changed all that much over a 3 decade plus time period. So IMO a more thorough examination of trends yields a distinctly different picture than does a quick snapshot look.
We very well might be in a long-term losing battle when it comes to salmonid habitat in the Puget Sound region. "Then what?" you ask. Speaking only for myself, I look at how best to manage the fishery resource within the constraints of variables we can control and variables we cannot control. Society has spoken and has long since decided that it values high quality lip service toward habitat preservation over actually preserving habitat, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent pursuing restoration and improvement. In the context of steadily declining habitat productivity and capacity I choose to play the hand I'm dealt. For me that means doing the best and most that I can for fish within the sideboards of our human reality, and similarly extracting the optimal benefits from that resource for as long as we can preserve it at a level capable of yielding benefits. That's the pragmatic part of me. Alternatively I could rant and rave about what oughta' be and should be . . . and not change a darn thing.
Not fishing over fish that can support fishing is not only not a pragmatic solution, it's no solution at all, but makes for excellent grand-standing while achieving neither preservation, conservation, nor wise use. Congratulations to your side?
See ya' on the Cowlitz. I wet a line there a bit.
Nice post Salmo...didn't we go through all of this already? Like six or seven times...
It's not that he doesn't believe, but that he doesn't want to believe. Changing his viewpoint on this subject would, for him, mean that at some point he was in error. Obviously this is an unacceptable situation for him and so his struggle goes on...and on...and on...
Only people that want to learn can be taught, and only people open to change, will change.
Like shaking sea lice off, them lil buggers aren't gonna deter the path ahead...we will spawn all over Olympia, Rockport , the radio, news media etc. With or without your support we will swim steadfast and determined to spread the seed
Yep; deja vu all over again, and again, and again, etc. I think your on line psych evaluation of FSA is spot on. Can't think of any other explanation.
If you think we're on a glide path to perpetual habitat loss, I don't see how the math works out in the end... unless the basis keeps getting revised along with lower and lower carrying capacity. Might we imagine these same discussions in the future with folks deciding whether it's OK to fish over 1000, 600, (pick one) returning fish? At what point do we move to threatened, or endangered? Will OS be remembered as heroic for having reinstated C&R or as the group complicit in bringing the run to ruin?
Contrary to your statement, my position is not for grand-standing. It's simply that one can choose to add risk or not. You and others can say there is no risk, but you also admit there is much unknown and many factors that are out of our control. Choosing not to fish over Skagit fish, at present, is completely within ones control and absolutely does not add risk.
How have you been fairing on the Cowlitz?
The answer is that for the current population of fish there is *ZERO* risk that C&R fishing is in any way limiting the population. I had a discussion about this with Steve a day or two ago, and there is a limit to what a population of fish can handle.
Think about it. These fish (salmon) have evolved to deal with earthquakes, ice dams, floods, complete river channel changes (the Sauk used to flow into the Stilly), etc. Small changes to populations like this aren't a big deal. I wished I had the reference, but Quinn at UW mentioned that above a certain population threshold, the resilience to harvest for a stock is very, very good. But below it, the population just stays low, never really going about that threshold.
Rivers like the Skagit did not reach this critical threshold and as such we saw 8k fish return with an adult population of 2.5k. This river is in *NO* danger of crashing.
Other basins like the HamaHama and Duckabush fell below this threshold and if you continue to watch the population trends has regressed except for the odd hatchery brood plant to keep the run from going extinct.
There isn't any one easy answer, and a lot of it has to do with basin side, habitat, strays, etc. But at this moment, we have zero concerns about C&R being the limiting and endangering factor.
" But at this moment, we have zero concerns about ... being the limiting and endangering factor."
I wonder how many long gone "old timers" said the same...as they were pounding the fish into oblivion?
... and as future generations will undoubtedly say the same.
like science, which you appear to not believe in, angling tactics/methods/philosophies change and evolve.
think harvest vs cnr, single vs treble, bait vs artificial.
The part that you forgot put in your quote was the "C&R" reference to angling method. All the old timers that I met through the years did not practice catch and release fishing...one even told me about pitch forking fish out of Day Creek. Then in the next breath lamented that "You sure can't do that no more".
In spite of your protests, 'feelings' and oddball lines of thinking, Catch and Release angling combined with "Selective Gear Rules" does not facilitate "pounding them into oblivion".
One has to wonder if you have ever participated in the well run C&R fishery that we had on the Skagit...or elsewhere for that matter.
I left out a "word" by design, because really it could be any word (about any topic of "use") you want to plug in there...
No GOLD STARS for jake-e-boy and _WW_.
"Blinders R Us"
least someone saw my post
still do not see how you can argue with the most relevant scientific data? Do you have any published studies regarding marine life and carrying capacity? Any reasoning besides it makes you feel better? I will get that gold star!
Of course you did. Otherwise your statement has no teeth. An old, but not very clever trick.
at least you guys are burning calories
Soooooooo ..........after it reopens ( just me being positive) will the nea say'ers band together to try shut down the CnR season? Or will you dissappear? I'm guessing our mission, backed by data, surpasses your ability to follow thru with any data that shows the contrary. until you have weapons, no chance at victory. Just a lot of hot air, not much of a Trojan horse FLvr, just sayin...
Bhudda- the gold sticker whore guy
...and don't bend the corners when you peel it off, hate that shit