Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Bob Triggs, Dec 16, 2008.
iagree -good point Curt.
It doesn't say when they added the following update to the bottom of their webpage, perhaps the outpouring of opinions from this forum are working, a quick call to the press in their area, explaining the problems with serving steelhead, might also prove effective:
I have begun to hear from several concerned people about the SUSTAINABILITY to this species, which conerns me. I am investigating both through our supplier and through online resources as to the situation. As much as possible, I want to support sustainability and the overall fish populations health.
In our business of trying our best to appeal to customers, be responsible to environment, and create food that inspires people to return, we have many factors to consider. Anyone reading have any comments to forward the conversation in a direction? Please use the form below and tell us what you think!
Well, our voices are being heard. Keep it up. The update was added within the last few hours.
these coastal rivers historically had the bulk of their run return in december and january. the planting of hatchery fish and the harvest directed at those hatchery fish have decimated the early component of the runs on all the coastal rivers.
the directed harvest on the early hatchery fish actually impacts the most endangered part of the wild steelhead runs on the coast. while getting the quinault tribe to start marking their steelhead on the quinault and the salmon would be a positive step in the right direction, it would not change the huge impact their programs have on the historically largest part of the runs (early).
honestly, with run sizes where they are right now, there is zero sustainable harvest especially when using non-selective methods.
i do agree with others that we need to make this about the endangered nature of the wild runs and not tribal fishing.
I just wanted you all to know where the Wild Steelhead were...:beathead:
They have to account for all of the fish taken, and all of the fish sold, to whom sold, and to where shipped. All of that is public information. So it should not be too hard to hunt that down and along the way to see if there is a clarification of the usage of the words "Wild Steelhead" in this context. Im sure that WDFW would be very happy to support this kind of inquiry...
Kurt, You made some good points there. Especially regarding marking hatchery fish- I feel that it should be mandatory. Why the hell isnt it!!!???
The reaction here is not unexpected; I can recall several such topics circulating regarding Wild Steelhead being served in our regional resteraunts, and of course they are being sold at Pike Place Market too. In those cases it was clear that the advertisng approach was strongly invested in the fact that these were "All wild fish, caught by native fishermen", thus implying some spiritualized mo-jo over the inherent superior qualites of the flesh one was ingesting. The sad thing is that people will believe almost anything when it is in print.
In the past these situations have been addressed in much the same way as the preceeding various above poster's sentiments reveal; a mix of vitriolic outrage and personal atacks, and a few good constructive ideas. The rage is not wholley without merit I will admit. But in the end, cooler heads should prevail here and a civilized discourse will do much to improve the educational discussion between parties. It wont help to attack these people. we need the facts and so do they. It wont help to shut it down verbally, have thenm delete their information etc, but then continue to quietly market our last wild fish.
Chefs, resteraunts and markets in many places have responded to a call for conservation of wild fish species when they had the facts presented in a thoughtful and truthful way. many of them do not have any other source for information, status of the fisheries etc, than the people who are selling them the fish to begin with. So as bad as it all looks, we should be working to support them in getting the whole story, and giving them an opportunity to look at that and let us know what they are going to do about it.
I am hoping that CCA National will employ their resources in the Washington D.C. Beltway area to help address this issue. This is their real strength when it comes to dealing with threats to our fisheries in other eastern states, they are very strong in the south east coastal states. Maybe Trout Unlimited will weigh in? I would cal them but I am afraid they will ask me for money and send me another calendar. Where is the F.F.F.? All of these organizations have links to regional offices in the Washington D.C. area, so all could impart a solid representation of the facts about our last wild fish. No doubt we will see something more locally relevant from the Wild Steelhead Coalitionl, Maybe the Wild Fish Conservancy and The Wild Salmon Center?. At times like this it is very clear why we should be supporting their efforts.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
Congrats guys - clearly the good "chef" has heard some of your comments -
" have begun to hear from several concerned people about the SUSTAINABILITY to this species, which concerns me. I am investigating both through our supplier and through online resources as to the situation. As much as I can, I want to support sustainability and the overall fish populations health.
I have tried to be very aware of what we can do as individuals to help with these types of issues, creating foods that are not only tasty, well presented, at a good price point, and in line with the environment to the best of my knowledge.
I will say that this one blog post has brought my awareness up to a new level, and I will reply personally to all the emails and posts… that you’ll find at the end of the post here.
In our business of trying our best to appeal to customers, be responsible to environment, and create food that inspires people to return, we have many factors to consider. Anyone reading have any comments to forward the conversation in a direction? Please use the form below and tell us what you think!"
Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. Top end restaurants want to be able serve fresh salmon/steelhead to their customers. This has long been the case and what has driven the economic viability of tribal gill netting for steelhead. Much of the catch is shipped out of state (such places as CAlifornia, Denver, Montrel, New York and other large population centers). The demand is such that it is profitable to truck fresh fish to the Sea-Tac and air ship them across the country.
Some folks thought that net pen fish might have been a viable alternative to meet the "wild fish need". But that is a discussion for another thread.
Watch out...idiot quote below------
Jim Chambers on December 17th, 2008 3:40 pm
Steelhead, like the other members of the salmon family, return to spawn in the river/stream where they began life. From a population perspective, each river system is considered (under regulations implementiung the Endangered Species Act) to be a separate evolutionary unit or the management equivalent of a separate species. Thus, if one river system’s steelhead are being maintained in a healthy condition, as is the case of the Quinault River steelhead, it has no bearing on what is happening to steelhead from other river systems since they don’t interbreed. Information on http://www.FishBase.org indicates that steelhead (actually a sea-run rainbow trout) have been introduced worldwide.
Washington state biologists responsible for steelhead population assessment and management (Washington state fishery management branch) consider the Quinault population to be healthy and the fishery to be sustainable and well managed. The federal agencies (NMFS and FWS) responible for decisions on Endangered Species Act listings, classify the Olympic Peninsula’s populations of wild steelhead as “not warrented” (for ESA listing). The link to the federal status listing of West Coast salmonids is: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/ESA-Salmon-Listings/upload/snapshot0208.pdf
Prime Seafood supplies restaurants with seafood only from sustainably managed fisheries, such as the Quinault fishery, and we advocate for seafood consumers and chefs to do likewise.
We also provide our chefs with king and coho salmon from the Quinault River as well as from Alaska, all of whose populations have been certified as “sustainable” by the international Marine Stewardship Council (www.msc.org).
Now here's the guy we need to get to change his opinion. This paragraph above reeks of the same type of logic as the guy on the "Red Gold" video who's the COO of Northern Dynasty, who flat denies the ability of the open pit mine to ruin the ecosystem
Someone like Salma G, Jeremy Floyd, Eric Tarcha, anyone that has the scientific know how to drop some knowledge on this dude....he's the one you need to change
Good on the chef for making his own mind up
I disagree with your analogy of the "tip of the iceberg" in respect to restaurants wanting to serve fresh salmon/steelhead. I think the term "bottom of the barrel" would be much more fitting.
As far as the thread is concerned..
The runs have been served to death already... Just like our native Char, Chum, Silvers, Kings... Pretty much every stock that the state has co-mismanaged.
Informed restaurant owners should be pushing for long term sustainable harvests so they can have quality non-farmed fish to serve, with all of the benefits to health and taste that they bring with them. Without a selective harvest method, or a complete stop to harvest before we kill off the bottom of the barrel, there will be nothing to save and rebuild to harvestable levels.
Being able to say "endangered species are delicious with butter, garlic, fresh cracked pepper and white wine" should be tongue in cheek satire or sarcasm, not cold hard truth.. That is just a little bit more sad than passing a protection law to not lift the a wild fish out of the water UNLESS it has been gill netted for someones table fare..
It is nearly impossible to change someones mind who has it tied directly to their wallet Jmills..
I think it is much easier to rally support against them with like minded individuals and lambast them in force.
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:
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.
Thanks for his e-mail, Eric. Here's what I sent.
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
..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.
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".