Opportunity. It's the common thread between Occupy Skagit and what I think finluvers position is. In many places, hatcheries are required for anglers to have opportunity. This is especially true in the Columbia river basin and Puget Sound. I like opportunity. I don't think that it's helpful to attack other anglers when they ask for fishing opportunities. We all want opportunity.
The one river system where a hatchery isn't really needed for angling opportunity is the Skagit. For whatever reason it has not suffered the same decline in the last 20 years that other PS rivers have. There are a couple river due north that may be in the same boat but we really don't know. The river itself is able to provide enough fish to have a full C&R season. The hatchery run, small and inneficient as it is, provides fish that fullfill the needs for a majority of the native fishery.
It's a whole lot more complex than hatchery vs. wild. We'd all do well to attempt to have a civil discussion with respect towards each other and an open mind towards the science that we do have. I struggle with being civil as much as anyone, but what I do know is that we all really want opportunity. It's unfortunate that the politics of these matters have turned some anglers angainst others, hopefully it is understood that OS is pushing for opportunity for all anglers.
Basic disagreement in what one or another group wants from a fishery. The chasm between the two sides will never be narrowed. It has been an active fault for decades. Again, if you don't feel the Skagit River should have a C&R season then show up at Olympia and state your case. The Occupy Skagit movement will be successful in achieving its goal of a basin by basin management plan for the Salish Sea rivers and the reinstatement of the spring catch and release season on the Skagit. Note, I said will be successful. The only way anyone will be able to stop Occupy Skagit will be to lobby the WDFW commissioners to not allow this season. Good luck.
I do understand where you're coming from (giving the fish a total "time out" to recover free from any fishing pressure), but the reality is that keeping fishers involved--both with financial contributions in all its forms plus lobbying efforts as seen here--means keeping us on the water. When you lose the fishers you lose the incentive, the momentum, and a great deal of conservation muscle. Tell me how that benefits fish in the long run?
Would the fish be better off with no fishing pressure whatsoever? Perhaps in an absolute sense--and that's true of every fishery everywhere. No doubt fishing adds a layer of "harassment" as you say, and possible injury/mortality. But responsible C&R seems like a balanced win-win given the potential for keeping fishers engaged and active. It has always been hunters and fishers who have pushed for and funded responsible game management, and this is no different.
Access to the resource is the grease that keeps the money--and the protection--flowing. I think that's a far more realistic and positive scenario than your "let 'em alone" blue sky ideal.
The premise that not being able to fish the Skagit will reduce the numbers of us who care about and act on behalf of the resource is overstated IMO. Those who love the sport, the rivers, and the fish are genetically predisposed to carry that through their lives. I do so whether I fish for them or not.
Yes FSA, and it would be nice if we have places to instill that same love of fishing and conservation in the next generation.
I'm just glad that there are people that love the sport and their home river system so much that they are trying to do every thing they can to get the river open for catch and release, for all of us. Thank you guys for doing something.
First of all, WDFW did not close the river to fishing. The Feds did that. Yes they had a reason, and when they allow it to reopen they will have a reason for that also. I will also understand exactly why they made both decisions.
How many Skagit fish go to other rivers to help seed and diversify the species?
I don't see how this pertains to Occupy Skagit since these very fish you speak of will NOT be in the Skagit to be fished for, but in another Puget Sound river that will be closed to fishing. I'm sure you were trying to make some point but I'll be damned if I know what it is.
This comment, "Habitat and Marine Survival are the two major contributors to declining populations in Puget Sound.", is something I have been contending as well (here in Oregon), during the "hatchery" debates; yet when this is presented, it is vehemently rebuked.
I would say it is rebuked because people don't want to accept responsibility for altering the habitat. Most folks think all a fish needs is water. Not quite that simple. However, that is only conjecture because I am as unfamiliar with your situation as you are with the Skagit.
Those statements are of course only opinions held by you. Opportunity, goal, and sustainable mean different things to different folks. For instance:
The 'goal' of Occupy Skagit is to provide an 'opportunity' to fish C&R for steelhead when the escapement 'goal' determined to provide for the run to be 'sustainable' has been forecast for the upcoming season.
That ain't all your missing. But I must admit your post about the fear of a targeted smolt fishery in Puget Sound was absolutely fucking hilarious. And it is a perfect example of what happens when you reach too far when trying to argue about something you possess little knowledge of.
But, at some point the humor fades as one realizes that you are here for the arguing and not for some self professed concern for the fish or fishery on the Skagit.
In the coming years while I am enjoying a fruitful and well regulated C&R fishery on the Skagit I will surely think back to these times of exchanging comments with those who are against it, and wish to not avail themselves of a wonderful opportunity...but probably not more than two or three times.