Columbia River nets

#16
The next step would be for anglers to drive to Bonneville, show your catch record card and request your fish. The transaction is instantly recorded. No paperwork needed thus saving money for WDFW. Precise and efficient.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#17
Does anyone know why the tribes use gillnets and don't just dipnet the ladders?
Regulation, security, and liability. The fish ladders, as part of the dams, are owned and operated by the Corps of Engineers. The Corps regulates use, and the tribes want to regulate themselves. Security is a big deal to the Corps, all federal gov't. really. And if a tribal fisherman fell into a ladder pool and drowned, the Corps would likely be sued as being liable for not providing a sufficiently safe fishing location. If the same tribal fisherman falls out of his boat and drowns in the Columbia River, well, that's just tough luck. There may be other reasons too, but these come first to mind.
 
#18
The next step would be for anglers to drive to Bonneville, show your catch record card and request your fish. The transaction is instantly recorded. No paperwork needed thus saving money for WDFW. Precise and efficient.
It doesn't work both ways. One is done for sport with the experience being the product and keeping the catch secondary. The other is done for $$$$ with the intention of keeping everything stuck in the gillnet.
 
#19
Regulation, security, and liability...
....And if a tribal fisherman fell into a ladder pool and drowned, the Corps would likely be sued as being liable for not providing a sufficiently safe fishing location.
Getting a security clearance isn't that hard. Some tribal members already have them.

Don't dip net the ladders. Use the adult fish facility. Back up a tribal truck, put mark selected fish directly on ice.

Everybody wins. Quota would be exact to +/- one fish. All wild origin fish could be released. This method would create the highest quality product for the consumer and fetch the highest price for the tribes. Less cost in overhead would give the tribes more profit per pound.

Aren't we going this direction anyway with the proposed fishwheels?
 

Dan Page

Active Member
#20
I agree Snopro, but would guess the Tribal netting is a rite they consider as important as we do the experience of catching. But it has great merit and wonder if such an idea has been discussed.
 

XP

Active Member
#21
Yeah, why not sort the fish at Bonneville and divvy up everyone's share there? The Tribe's can take theirs' home and the rest can continue on. No by-catch kills, precise counts on Tribal take. Very precise and much more efficient.
Because they need to do it the traditional way with internal combustion engines, GPS, etc. Just like when they hunted the whales at Neah Bay and shot it with a 50 cal.
 

bennysbuddy

the sultan of swing
#23
Because they need to do it the traditional way with internal combustion engines, GPS, etc. Just like when they hunted the whales at Neah Bay and shot it with a 50 cal.
I come from a Danish family from Astoria, my grandpa & dad at one point commercial fished the Columbia river. you would think I would have the right to recreationally gillnet on the Columbia because is was a family tradition starting in the 1920's with grandpas horse seining off the lower river sandbars
 

PhilR

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey
#24
I’m with you guys on hating the nets. I looked it up once, though, and I’m pretty sure that the floats that you see in the river are permanently moored. They don’t always have nets on them.
 

FinLuver

Active Member
#25
I agree Snopro, but would guess the Tribal netting is a rite they consider as important as we do the experience of catching. But it has great merit and wonder if such an idea has been discussed.
Nothing speaks more loudly, like indiscriminate slaughter and litter, to further enhance one's heritage...
It's not just a white man's problem, I guess.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#26
Don't dip net the ladders. Use the adult fish facility. Back up a tribal truck, put mark selected fish directly on ice.

Everybody wins. Quota would be exact to +/- one fish. All wild origin fish could be released. This method would create the highest quality product for the consumer and fetch the highest price for the tribes. Less cost in overhead would give the tribes more profit per pound.
What makes sense depends a lot on POV. The way the commercial fisheries work, both treaty and non-treaty, the money goes to whomever reduces the fish to possession. The tradition became one where a single fisherman, or maybe with a deckhand, operates his boat and net and sells his catch and pockets the money. Using adult fish facilities at the fish ladders makes sense from a conservation POV, but from a cultural and socio-economic perspective, who gets the fish? Who sells the fish? And who pockets the money? Big questions that are not a good fit in the commercial fishing community. It's not the tribes that are making money; it's individual fisherman. And that makes ALL the difference in terms of sensible management decisions.

Also, these are not the highest quality fish. Tule Chinook are junk by the time they pass Bonneville and often don't bring much more than $0.50/lb. URBs (Upriver Brights) fetch a better price, and steelhead are somewhere in between. From a strictly economic perspective, the fishery doesn't make sense at all, unless you're a treaty Indian and it's the only place you can fish, in which case some money is better than none at all.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#27
And then the river closes to all salmon and steelhead fishing except for tribal commercial gillnets.

time for an anglers rebellion against WDFW and ODFW, there should be a thousand boats on the Columbia tomorrow fishing for salmon.
 
#28
What makes sense depends a lot on POV. The way the commercial fisheries work, both treaty and non-treaty, the money goes to whomever reduces the fish to possession. The tradition became one where a single fisherman, or maybe with a deckhand, operates his boat and net and sells his catch and pockets the money. Using adult fish facilities at the fish ladders makes sense from a conservation POV, but from a cultural and socio-economic perspective, who gets the fish? Who sells the fish? And who pockets the money? Big questions that are not a good fit in the commercial fishing community. It's not the tribes that are making money; it's individual fisherman. And that makes ALL the difference in terms of sensible management decisions.
I'm very familiar with how a commercial fishing operation works.;)

I thought commercial fishing for the tribes was run similar to casinos with the whole tribe benefiting from the salmon caught. It sounds like it's no different than a standard commercial fishing operation. Thanks for the education.

Using the adult fish facility it would be simple to divide fish among the folks who have traditionally been using gillnets. Same people are pocketing the money so the end result is equivalent.

Also, these are not the highest quality fish. Tule Chinook are junk by the time they pass Bonneville and often don't bring much more than $0.50/lb. URBs (Upriver Brights) fetch a better price, and steelhead are somewhere in between. From a strictly economic perspective, the fishery doesn't make sense at all, unless you're a treaty Indian and it's the only place you can fish, in which case some money is better than none at all.
All the more reason to do this from the adult fish facility. They could live release all the Tule, wild steelhead and anything that just looked skanky and keep only the highest quality URBs, hatchery steelhead and hatchery coho for market. Quality would be outstanding because the fish could go from live, to bled out on ice in a few seconds. A huge improvement over rapid decomposition in 70 degree water for 3 to 8 hours, sitting in the bottom of a skiff, and rough handling from skiff to iced bin in truck.

It would be a win for the tribes, buyers and consumers. The buyers would pay a premium for the quality fish, the tribes would make more money with less effort, and the consumer would dine on a better quality product. Best of all the lower quality fish (from a consumption perspective) and wild B runs would be released unharmed to do what they do. The amount of wasted fish would be cut dramatically leaving more fish to spawn, but still achieve the same income for the fisherman.


Commercial tribals deserve their quota. I think there is a way of achieving it in a more fish friendly manner that still accounts for their financial and cultural interests. Trying to get outside the box in search of solutions.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#29
Using the adult fish facility it would be simple to divide fish among the folks who have traditionally been using gillnets. Same people are pocketing the money so the end result is equivalent.
I think you're still over-looking an important (to the fishermen) component of how treaty commercial fishing works. It might be simple for you to divide the fish among the folks who traditional gillnet, but not so simple from the fisheman's perspective. Just about every fisherman thinks he's a highliner (well above average producer), but of course, in fact, they aren't. Yet the guy who demonstrably wasn't a highliner last year believes he will be this year. I bet it would be easier to herd cats than to get a tribe's fishermen to agree to what each fisherman's share of the tribal catch quota should be. Then there's the dark underbelly of off-ticket sales, and the fishermen who sell fish this way don't want the tribe, state, or feds to know who sells how many of what kind of fish this way. You can argue that this serves to undermine the interests of conservation and strong and effective fish management, and you'd be right. But you'd be wrong if you think individual fishermen care about that anywhere near as much as they care about protecting the "turf" of their personal catch and fishing income, which they regard as a property right.

The end result of converting all Columbia River commercial fish harvest to fish traps at existing fish ladders, plus those on the Willamette, NF Lewis, and Cowlitz, would be far better for fish conservation, ESA interactions, reduced waste, and every other advantage that you can think of. Except the commercial fishermen themselves will never go there unless and until their respective governments drag them there, kicking and screaming all the way.
 
#30
Don't get me started on the egos of "Highliners".

Then there's the dark underbelly of off-ticket sales, and the fishermen who sell fish this way don't want the tribe, state, or feds to know who sells how many of what kind of fish this way.
Announce that in 5 years all fishing quotas will transition to the method I suggested....with distributions proportional to ticket records of buyers for those 5 years.

Sweet, we just solved another problem, black market sales.

The end result of converting all Columbia River commercial fish harvest to fish traps at existing fish ladders, plus those on the Willamette, NF Lewis, and Cowlitz, would be far better for fish conservation, ESA interactions, reduced waste, and every other advantage that you can think of. Except the commercial fishermen themselves will never go there unless and until their respective governments drag them there, kicking and screaming all the way.
How can we nudge the respective governments in this direction? Can't we coax fisherman instead of dragging them? Same (or higher) pay for a lot less work sounds like a good incentive.
 

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