BJG, It may surprise you that points of view differ in that regard. WA state law includes the mutually conflicting requirements of fisheries conservation with maintaining viable commercial fisheries and recreational fishing opportunity. Any fish bio worth his salt can conserve fish populations if allowed to do so. However, the law is interpreted according to the $$ spent on lobbying the Legislature, and commercial fishing gets restricted, but not nearly as much as some in the business would like. Further, no bio or WDFW Director in WA has ANY influence on pre-terminal salmon harvests in BC or AK. That is handled via the US Dept. of State, and AK acts like an independent nation in the two nation US - Canada treaty. It may also surprise you to learn that increasing escapements doesn't necessarily lead to larger subsequent run sizes. It does if run sizes are under-escaped, but it doesn't when a specific run is adequately escaped. Run size is determined by limiting factors. The limiting factor is that specific factor limiting a specific fish population. For some, like sockeye, it might be available spawning area or the lake the juvenile fish rear in. For PS chinook it often seems to be early juvenile estuary rearing habitat. For coho and steelhead it seems to be either summer rearing flows or overwintering habitat, depending on the river basin and the seasonal hydrology. For pink and chum it seems to be a combination of spawning habitat and estuary rearing habitat for juveniles. And for all of them, marine survival, which varies all the time, can easily exert a 5-fold difference in run size. More fish on the spawning beds leads to a larger population up until the next limiting factor controls the population size. Which is why I said biologists generally don't care how surplus fish are caught or harvested. We just want to make escapement mainly. You can say it's not emotional. Alternatively it could be due to being uninformed. Give me a reason why fish biologists don't have the heartburn about treaty gillnetting that so many sport fishermen express. I haven't seen one, not one, biologist in three fishing forums I peruse express the concern, let alone the conviction that so many sport anglers have that treaty gillnetting is wiping out salmon or steelhead runs. Either we're all stupid, or we're better informed and react logically rather than emotionally to the subject. You make the excellent point that things are not good when fish are being listed under the ESA. The reasons for listing may include overfishing that occurred in the past, but in most cases the fishing rates today have already been vastly reduced in WA, perhaps not so much in BC and AK. Fish that are being harvested at extremely low rates are still declining. I'm talking about rates that low fish populations readily recover from provided they have suitable habitat in sufficient quantity and quality. Habitat issues are the leading cause of ESA listings. Even the commercial fishermen who would do well to further reduce their impacts to fish populations are right when they point to habitat as the central issue. Sincerely, Salmo g.