Wild Steelhead in the Pike Pl Fish Market?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by MarkM, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. I dont know the regulations, but I can tell you that the fishing upstram from their nets in the Hoh has continued to be dismal. Had a really poor trip there last week. The populations continue to drop and the fish in the net are sold to tourists in short trousers at Pike Place Market.
  2. It's bullshit, native or not, if anyone ever wants any hope of having some healthy runs in their life again, the nets need to be pulled, and kept out of the water.
  3. derek, pointing out issues such as dams, development, over harvest of the forest, street runoff, riparian degredation, leaking septic tanks, as contributors to the decline of anadramous fishes is worthy but insufficient.

    in the short run, hopefully before extinction, NONE of these issues is going to be resolved or reversed, not a single one.

    the one and only thing that is under immediate control is a total closure of fishing, by everyone. i am assuming with that statement that there are drainages which have yet to reach that tipping point beyond which no recovery of wild fish is possible.

    excuse me while i also point out that a professional working inside an agency that is charged with management of wildlife has a professional obligation. it is no longer acceptable to blame the other guy for setting policy that is harmful to our fish stocks. if the professionals working inside these agencies are not speaking the science and going public with those facts and figures, of what value are they?

    stepping up to the plate by the trained professionals has not been happenning, from what i can see. what i can see is extinction on the horizon.
  4. I strongly agree, none of the serious (yet petty issues such as logging, septic, etc.) are going to change before the steelhead leaves for good. The quickest fix to see any results at all is to pull nets, sorry tribes!....and close all natal streams to fishing. It pains me to think about not steelheading next season, but I am TOTALLY willing to sacrifice it for the rest of my life if it means my son and grandson will be able to enjoy what the generations before us have enjoyed.
  5. He loves power baitin'


    Yep, them pesky, petty issues such as logging...Wow!


  6. Petty in the sense that they're not going to change in the time it takes for steelie runs to rebound, and that we need to focus on the best and quickest ways to recover populations you smart ass. And the power baiting is a joke, I hope you know that, if not, well, I don't even know. And did you notice how I deemed them serious, yet petty again in the sense of a quick fix at all? You need to read posts through, and interpret them with a little more thought, instead of trying to make a joke out of someone's opinions.
  7. Divide and conquer or join and change? It all needs to be done. We don't know the carrying capacity of our current habitats unless we shut down harvest. We can look to OP rivers as control examples with good headwater habitat but we can't know the whole picture unless we let the fish come home. Habitat is probably the number one factor because in every extinction we have caused it has either been habitat loss or over-harvest. Every problem that has been mentioned (population increases, covering over with pavement, harmful runoff, draw down of ground water, clearing riparian zones, dramatic ocean condition changes, pollution, harvest, major habitat loss and more) need to be addressed. You can't eat an elephant in one bite! Lets bind together and take care of every problem. Where do we start....policy! We need lots of people for this fight, this is what CCA is all about. So while we join or money together so the big guns can fight policy, we can get out there and work on the rest of the issues that bios know to be true. I hope everyone here has taken a good look at what happened to wild Atlantic salmon. It's not too late!

    This post has been an educational experience, but lets not leave our fighting spirit here! Thanks.
  8. I sure hope not!
  9. Some of you appear to truly believe that removing nets from steelhead rivers is going to have a measurable effect on the productivity of wild steelhead populations in Puget Sound. While I applaud the warm-hearted intentions, I wonder what logic of salmonid ecology, if any, drives or supports your beliefs. I guess that's a polite way of asking if you have any idea of what you're talking about. I wonder what you know, or think you know, that no biologist trained in salmonid biology and ecology seems to know. Doesn't it seem like just maybe there is a serious disconnect in this regard? I've been in this business over 30 years and am acquainted with biologists young and old in this region and others. Wouldn't you think that if the idea that nets were a causative agent limiting the productivity of wild PS steelhead populations, I would have run into at least one fisheries biologist who shares that view?

    I'm sharing this because I want to believe that folks posting that nets are a significant factor affecting wild steelhead stock status are basing their belief on logic rather than emotion.


    Salmo g.
  10. gt,

    You keep harping about ESA listed steelhead as the reason tribal nets have to come out. However, as Salmo and other have pointed out, the west end OP rivers don't have ESA listed steelhead. Therefore, since the west end OP steelhead are not ESA listed, the tribes have the treaty fishing right to take 50% of the harvestable surplus. I fail to see what part of treaty fishing right to take harvestable surplus you don't understand because it is really a very simple concept. I.e. Healthy, non-ESA listed steelhead=harvestable surplus=the treaty tribe(s) on that river have a right to take 50% of the surplus. The federal coursts have ruled this is so and the state has lost each case when it tried to prevent the treaty fishing tribes from taking the fish or selling the fish; therefore, staying on this ESA listed steelhead argument as a reason to get the nets out is worse than useless, it is an attack on the tribal treaty fishing rights that does nothing more than anger the tribes. We need to be working with the tribes, not against them because they are the only user group with a right to fish.

    The last time I looked at the US Constitution, the government cannot take a right away from a treaty tribe unless it changes the treaty, has the change upheld by the US Supreme Court, and then compensates the tribes that had these rights removed by the actions of Congress. This is why I have asked you several times what you are doing to get Congress to do this. So far I've not seen you post anything about how you are going to get Congress to change the treaties.

    You still have yet to provide any empirical data or evidence that the tribal netting has caused the decline we have seen in the last 10 years. You also ignore the evidence provided by fisheries biologists. Plus you discount the importance of getting habitat protection and improvement as not being able to be done quickly enough. Only thing wrong with this is I've seen what habitat distruction has done to the Deer Creek fish and the South Fork Nooksack fish.

    I've also seen what the Stilly Tribe was able to get done to prevent a small riverside slide from continuing to dump lots of clay into the Stilly. The County didn't do it, the feds didn't do it, the state didn't do it, sportsmen didn't do it, the Stilly Tribe did. And on the South Fork of the Nooksack, the Nooksack Tribe has installed quite a few log barriers to help prevent slides from dumping clay and sand into the river. Again it wasn't the County, feds, or state, it was the Nooksack Tribe that did it. In other words, I've seen tribes do things that benefit the fish and we need to be working with them to continue these type of things with habitat, not yell about their treaty fishing rights.
  11. Jason, I believe you have posted a very articulate and concise summary to this line of thought and discourse. There are many factors that have brought our NW anadromous fisheries to the precarious position they are now in. Like it or not, we all have had a role to play in getting here. Likewise, there are roles for all of us to play in getting us back out. Unfortunately, we don not have the luxury of the same hundreds of years it took to get to this point to work on the undoing of it all. We must focus on what we can do as individuals, we must pull together to accomplish as a group what we cannot as individuals, and we must, as a society, recognize that our earth is a finite resource, and re-align our lives accordingly. The sustainability awareness prevalent now works to our advantage, but there is still much to be done. Each one of us has the obligation, right and responsibility to educate ourselves and others, and to apply whatever energy and effort we have to accomplish this important and audacious goal. It is easy to say "I can't make a difference", or "this won't make a difference". But somewhere, somehow, we have to start, and together, make a difference. The longest journey begins with a single step, eating the elephant begins with the first bite...and just because that first step isn't in exactly the correct direction doesn't diminish the value of having taken it.

    Joining CCA isn't a bad first step. Not killing wild steelhead isn't a bad first step. There are others that are good as well... The step you take is not nearly as important as having taken it.

  12. my old friend, double doc bob, was a graduate of oregon state university department of forestry. when he asked his colleagues if any of them believed that leaving a forest alone to self heal following a fire was the correct way to go, not a single trained PhD forest manager would agree. so do i expect that all fisheries biologists trained in exactly the same way for decades would agree that taking nets out would benefit wild steelhead? no!

    as i have said, it takes brave minds and radical thinking to break with traditional ways of analysing complex problems. that is, after all, how all major scientific break throughs have happened. the 'what if' mind set is rare and an advanced degree in whatever science does not indicate that that individual is capable of that sort of inventing.

    now, it seems to me that i asked for some specific escapement data for the OP rivers. claiming that these fish stocks are ok right now is absurd without considerable backup of actual hard evidence. where is it?

    we can continue beating this worn out drum forever but the anadramous fishes are going to continue to go extinct. so why not break with this shop worn thinking and approach this problem from a different perspective.

    i think we can all agree that the dams are not coming down anytime soon; development will continue so long as folks keep coming to this state; impervious surfaces will continue to be layed down; riparian zones will continue to be impacted; net fishing will continue; climate change will become more pronounced; and so on and on.

    so what to do to actually manage our fish stocks?

    lets focus on the hypothesis that each drainage with their own unique stocks of wild anadramous fish MUST maintain a carrying population in order to survive and self heal, that is, a number of spawning fish to sustain these independent runs irrespective of events beyond the control of these returning fish.

    it seems to me that this is exactly what has happened from the beginning. fish runs have survived natural disasters and self healed without mans intervention. run timing as well as numbers of returning fish have gone up and down in response to sucessful spawing cycles as well as those that failed. but, a sufficient population of fish has successfully spawned and continued the cycle from the beginning, and without intervention. what has changed are the number and depth of events which make it tougher and tougher for this carrying population to successfully produce their progney. we have also plugged drainages with concrete fish which have also expedited the downward spiral of native fishes.

    so why not simply go back to say 1960 and summarize the actual observations of fish returns, however imprecise they are, they have been collected with meticulous repeatability. lets then graph these observations over time to the present.

    i believe what we will see is a steady downward trend in observed fish, until a point is reached where that trend line tips downward to extinction. if we can even approximate where that steep downward line begins, we can conclude we have identified the carrying population which must return for that strain to self sustain on that drainage.

    you will note, that i have not attempted to intuit the 'why' these downward spirals are there. the favorite one right now seems to be 'ocean conditions.' from a fish MANAGEMENT percpective, these invented 'whys' are totally and completely irrelevant. protecting the carrying population of fish become the ONE and ONLY objective.

    setting catch limits, seasons and special regulations based on this carrying capacity number now becomes possible. if the carrying capacity cannot be maintained, the season is closed to everyone.

    when we identify a drainage that has no carrying fish, that drainage become a put and take fishery. that drainage becomes the recipient of concrete fish much to the delight of those intent on filling a freezer. would seem to me the hamma hamma, dosewallips, dungnesss.....are already in that category.

    in the case of puget sound drainages, unless the mixing zones can be positively identified, when a specific drainage tips, it would seem the entire sound, N & S, would have to be closed.

    so there is another idea for'yah. chew, enhance, reject, whatever, but i know that the idiocy of doing the same thing over and over is the most efficient and direct route to extinction i can imagine.
  13. GT,

    I'm mostly ignoring your posts any more, but the last one has some points I think are worth responding to.

    First, not all fishery biologists are trained in exactly the same way, except for the basic principles of biology, including taxonomy, ecology, and population dynamics, and a few others. Not every fishery biologist believes in MSY for instance.

    Basic salmon and steelhead escapement data is collected annually. I'm not sure how much you can find on the WDFW website, but you can find several wild steelhead escapement records on the Wild Steelhead Coalition website that consist of WDFW data. At any rate, the evidence you refer to exists; it's collected and used.

    What's a "carrying population?" It appears you mean a minimum spawning escapement to sustain the population. If so, that would be a number less than even the MSY escapment goal, which many biologists believe is too low. Desired escapment goals are established for every major river system. Usually where the WDFW and tribal goals are different, the tribal goal is an MSH/MSY goal.

    Spawning escapement data is almost non-existant prior to 1958, and a lot of the pre-1974 data for many systems is inconsistent and not very reliable. The upshot is that trends are generally downward, corresponding pretty well with declines in habitat quantity and quality over time. There are some correlations also with fishing exploitation, but those that I am aware of are for short periods of time for specific fisheries.

    Every year, regulations, harvest rates, and allowable harvests, and special regulations are promulgated, just as you suggest (congratulations for figuring out fish management) so as to achieve the intended escapements of each stock of salmon and steelhead by river of origin and region. It's happening right now, and it's called the North of Falcon Process and involves states, feds, tribes, and commercial and sport fishing interests.

    When specific stocks are identified as low in abundance and limiting, fisheries are designed to reduce or minimize, but not entirely avoid, catching any of the limiting stock. Total avoidance would result in a total closure of the ocean, straits, and Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, and the Columbia River nearly every single year.

    Total closures to protect weak stocks are usually not necessary to provide the degree of protection necessary to meet that "minimum escapement" that I think is your "carrying population." Total closures would cause large populations of hatchery salmon to go unharvested, which is politically and socially unacceptable at present, and probably not a great idea biologically either.

    There ya' have it, a thumbnail sketch of fisheries management 101.


    Salmo g.
  14. Does it get any better than this!:p
  15. thanks salmo g, i pretty much discount what you post as i honestly believe you and your colleagues are just another part of the problem.

    i am also coming to understand just why the prediction models are so far off. when you model any event, the first order of business is getting a handle on all of the variables that need to be accurately measured and controlled. in the case of fishery management, that is simply not a realistic goal. however, we continue to chat about 'conditions' while putting MSY out as an appropriate management action. as i suggested, forget about all of these 'variables' which can not be measured and therefore have no role in a prediction model.

    instead, turn to page 69 of the link i posted and you can see with your own two eyes just how bad this situation has actually become. the data are there but not utilized in management decision making because MSY is still the rule of the day. kind of like forest management that promotes over harvest, same tune, different agency, mind set, cast in stone.

    when the actual escapement is 60% less than the desired threshold, as an example, why would any trained fisheries biologist claim the stocks are being managed correctly?? oh, i forgot MSY.

    yes, salmo g with the sort of numbers which are represented in this document, the entire puget sound fishery should have been closed to harvest by everyone some time ago. the data are there to underscore just how bad this situation was and continues to be without any sort of creative thinking going into managing the last remaining fish.

    MSY until the last fish is killed.
  16. You left out the Elwha and the Skok and the culverts as just a couple of other examples of the Tribes working with us and people actually actively doing something positive.

    My car has successfully been removed from the pile-up...C-YA. Ed
  17. GT,

    You've kinda' got that MSY part dialed. As dysfunctional a management practice as MSY is, MSY/MSH is the Holy Grail of fish management to which the state and tribal fishery managers are pledged, and it is blessed by the federal court.

    That being said, WDFW has prudently tried to set wild steelhead escapement goals at levels greater than MSH, but it takes tribal buy in to make it happen.

    Additional background may help you understand how the present situation arised. Through the 60s and 70s, wild PS salmon populations continued to decline even with reasonable harvest restrictions in WA waters. Two things were occurring simultaneously: freshwater habitat was being rapidly degraded, and the BC troll fishery expanded to harvest ever increasing proportions of PS chinook and coho.

    PS harvest levels were trimmed, but not enough to protect wild stocks. In order to harvest relatively abundant hatchery chinook and coho, the wild stocks, especially to south PS, were sacrificed. In the late 70s, early 80s, WDF (WDFW predecessor) developed a salmon management plan with treaty tribes to try to have at least one healthy wild salmon population in each PS river system. Often that wild population was chum, since WA chum are not so heavily harvested in BC. For example, Nooksack chinook and coho were sacrificed on the alter of hatchery worship, but it was no big deal, since the plan merely institutionalized an event that had already happened. And all of south sound became a hatchery stock wipe out fishery.

    Some fish managers would say the plan worked fine. Others would say it simply invited the ESA listings that have transpired. In any event, here we are.

    And there are still the hatchery fish. No one in management is going to suggest closing all WA waters to protect struggling wild populations (and not all wild populations are struggling) and forego harvesting whatever hatchery abundance exists. That goes for treaty and non-treaty commercial and sport fishermen. You're close to being an interest group of 1 who is willing to close it all. The interests from the user groups who control certain legislators who control WDFW aren't interested in your point of view, and they will out-spend and out-politic you to have it their way, even if it produces a few more extinctions along the way. I wish I were joking, but I think I have this understanding pretty clear.

    In defense of my colleagues, let me add that the vast majority of them don't share those views. I'm not certain that all of them even understand how the political process controls these outcomes.

    Fish management in the PNW is a complex machine. If you knew even half as much as you think you do, you'd understand that your railing against treaty netting of a few steelhead is really at the bottom of our list of fisheries concerns.

    Have fun tilting at your windmills.

  18. thanks for the honest post salmo g, i appreciate that. i don't view awareness as 'tilting at windmills', nor do i look at extinction as 'my' problem.

    the history of this stinks and is certainly a politically driven environment. i also accept that is continuing on today.

    my only attempt in today's world is open some eyes, just as your post above will certainly do, to the notion of extinction. it is and will continue to occur with the current 'management' practices on the table.

    and just as small mill towns went out of existence because of over harvest in our forests, another political reality, so will the entire fishing industry go bust from the tribes to the non-tribal to the sport fisheries.

    my own take, having spent even more time reading the 133 page document i linked, is its already too late to save our wild anadramous fish runs. we all should simply get used to concrete fish in our future, or no fish at all, either one tastes bad and is equally probable.

    what is DO know salmo g, is doing the exact thing over and over again is insanity, and that is exactly what fisheries management looks like. since i am not a part of the 'knowledge' group, thats about all i need to know at the moment.

    the short term solution is pretty clear and it has already been implemented along CA and OR. i can smell WA coming up to bat before very much more time goes by. that, perhaps, will stop the overharvest.

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