What happend to the steelhead in Washington?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by IHV2FSH, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. gt -
    Not sure that there is much wrong with MSY management. Now before folks go off the deep end MSY means maximum sustained yield. In the fish business yield can be measured in a number of different things. It is true that typically MSY is considered the same as MSH - max. sustained harvest - that is dead fish. However the objective could just as easily be max. sustained smolts (one measure of carrying capacity) or max. sustained recreation (usually measured as man days of fishing - such management usually ends up being some sort of mixture of harvest and CnR fisihing). I suspect that if anyone is still reading this they could get behind either max. sus. smolts (MSS) or max. sus. recreation (MSR).

    In light of the current difficult economic times in the salmon and steelhead world another variation of MSY might be max. sus. economic value which almost assurely would require a major shift for most species towards the recreational fishery.

    Now I can understand folks have a problem wiht max. sus. Harvest (MSH) but even there I'm not sure that one can say MSH management leads to extinction. After all such a result would indicate a failure to manage for MSH - extinction can hardly be called MSH. In virtually every fishery where the population has "crashed" under MSH management has been the result of the managers allow harvest rates in excess of what can be sustainable - either through caving in to pressure from the users, failure to recognize and adapt to changing conditions, etc.

    Now it should go without saying that in fisheries with both commercial and recreation fishers that MSH is a crappy way to manage from the recreational point of view. This is double so when the commercial fishery occurs in front of or before the recreational fishery. The recreational fishery is left with fishing on reduced abundances - that is fishing will be tougher. Further it will be typically that under MSH management run sizes will be smaller but not necessarily decreasing. Those smaller run sizes is the cost of managing for harvest.

    It should also go with saying that sort of MSY management should be carefully monitored to assure that objections are being met, population productivities are being maintained, management is repsonsive to management errors and inprecision, etc.

    It is my opinion that those of concern about the long term health of our wild steelhead and the potential fisheries they may support would be much better off spending our efforts lobbying for management of "yields" that we favor, that objectives are adequately buffered to account for management error and inprecision. The year to year results carefully monitored with review to assure that critical population parameters are being met.

    BTW -
    I agree that often it seems that many of the "conservation groups" seem to be more interested in conserving their "business" than the resource.

    Tight lines
  2. thanks curt, an interesting perspective. as everyone knows, the 'science' of fisheries management is very sketchy. while the biology can be studies in the lab, once we step out into the real world of interactions between variables we can hardly describe, much less control, all hell breaks loose. what does seem to be the case, from an operational point of view, is estimated run returns are stated using a variety of methodologies, but hardly every, perhaps never, measure up to the actual observed. a good example of this are the escapement goals for every managed eco system. have they ever been met much less exceeded? now once that failure of escapement is noted, logged in and pondered, it somehow does not make much sense, to this statistically inclined person, to simply pull out the same methodology for the next run cycle/projection. in other words, more of the same guarantees, more of the same.

    there does not seem to be any sort of reflection and correction done by WDFW staff in making estimates and correcting their quite inaccurate guess work. that said, the number of unknowns in the prediction equation are many and uncontrolled. from a statistical perspective, if i was off 30% this year, it would suggest that i reduce my projection by at least that number for the next run cycle projection. it might also suggest that i examine the last 10 years of actual observations and apply a correction factor that mirrors, lets say, a 10 year average.

    but when WDFW staff continue to run their weegi board, seemingly without correcting their procedures, what we end up with is in effect MSH. whether that occurs before or after a sport season matters not too much from the point of view of declining run stocks. even the canadian DFO, roundly trashed in canada, attempts to break down runs by region/area, provide forecasts for those smaller management segments and actually closes down harvest for specific species in specific areas. they are closer than WDFW in their management practices but still miss lots of projections.

    so since, statistically speaking, run estimates, escapement goals, and stock health all turn out to be a combination of observation, historic data and staff opinions, my problem is simply that harvest quotas, for all concerned, are being established at a level that guarantees non-sustainable populations of fish from one end of this state to the other.

    having spent considerable personal time learning how the statistical treatement of data are accomplished by WDFW and having taken the time to question their methodologies, i had to conclude that the statistical staff along with the stock managers really don't have a leg to stand on. if they were to submit their methodologies for peer review to any of a dozen or so statistical journals, they would end up in the trash pile, thats how far off their strategies are in terms of any hope of modeling what the rest of us observe.

    the solution, for this old cowboy, is to continue challenging WDFW in every way i can think of, including disolving the agency and destroying the agency culture of MSY/MSH. many of you thought retaining the status quo was somehow the correct choice. while change is difficult for many, it is the correct choice with regard to fisheries managment. the culture at WDFW pretty much guarantees that what you see today will only be worse tomorrow.

    the 'conservation' groups i send dollars too have seen the last of my money. they will now have to show me the beef before they get another cent. voting with your wallet is simply another tool each of us has to impact those who claim to stand up for conservation.
  3. dam right! they sure will, and even offer estate planning too
  4. Just so you know, the fishing was pretty decent here on the Skagit in the 90s.
  5. Damm right the 90's were good, I could acually catch them back in the day
  6. If nothing else the last twenty years or so should have demostrated to all that part of the dynamic nature of steelhead (and other anadromous salmonids) is that significant variations in regional marine survival is the norm.

    Tight lines
  7. Probably true enough... I was speaking of the Columbia/Snake River basins when the runs were pretty depressed. Like Smalma points out, the variation between stocks in the various parts of WA makes generalizing a problem... That's why we've seen some temporary bumps in the Basin numbers of steel (due to spill/ocean) in the last few years while the OP/PS stocks are in the toilet.
  8. This is quite possibly the most depressing thread I have laid eyes on.
  9. i have NO HOPE that puget sound stocks (Steelhead) will recover, and now some Salmon stocks are headed in the same direction.
    thats right boys and girls, gone forever.
    but hey we can then plant what ever we want from what ever hatchery.
    no worries.
    is the WDFW job to protect runs from failure?
  10. I had a dream...

    All the wild fish were gone and the state closed the hatcheries. In an effort to keep their 'tradition' alive the tribes opened up new hatcheries and repopulated the rivers with thousands upon thousands of fish. This was all very expensive, but they persevered and the rivers were once again full of leaping fish. Then one fine day a guy showed up to the river with his jet sled and a host of bobber rods. "Hey, remember me? A long time ago we signed a treaty. Half of these fish are mine..."
  11. WDFW is changing their logo from this


    to this

  12. I'm sorry I missed that meeting but I was out of the country, I really wanted to be there.
  13. Chris,

    Unfortunately or fortunately however you choose to look at it, you didn't miss anything. WW tried to ask a question and could not because of the uneducated taking over the meeting. It was a waste of time for anyone there that could spell their mother's name and sadly I think it was a waste of time for the WDFW officials present.

    I hate to say this but the meeting reinforced my belief our fish don’t stand a chance. Even those that claim to love fishing are unwilling or unable to understand what the problems are and most certainly they/we are unwilling to do what needs to be done to save them.
  14. unfortunately, topwater, it is the sport fishing community who is fiddlin' while the fish go extinct. not a single organization has stepped up to take a lead role in ANY movement toward stopping extinction from moving further. just keep on sending in your dues, you will be certain to get a fancy slick paper publication once a month that reinforces that nothing is being done.

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