Netting on the Sound


Future WFF Mod
I flew over the sound today and saw atleast 7 separate nets strung out for hundreds of feet at the mouth of the Nooksack. I also saw a fish dam ( a permanent cement structure with nets) off the coast of Orcas island. If the state was serious about regulating salmon harvesting they would start with the nets. It's pretty ridiculous looking down and seeing 95% of the mouth of a river netted off...


Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
All Tribal... State can't do anything about it. They set there own season, quota, regulate, and enforce themselves.


a.k.a. Griswald
I have said this before, and I will say it again.

I am not a fisheries biologist, but...

What needs to happen as soon as possible is to Close the entire inside (everything from the Start of the Straight in...) to everyone, Commercials, Native Americans, and sportys. This includes rivers.

We should try this for about 5 years. Then we can see what is really going on with the ecosystem.

Sorry if I offend, but that is truly the way to save this resource and do the most good with the least amount of time...


In 20 years there will be nothing but hatchery fish if we keep this shit up.

I walked to the Ballard locks with my son a couple of days ago as we often do and the Tribal folks had multiple nets strung all the way across the outlet. Only a couple of fish were in the viewing area but lots flopping around in the nets. As a former fisheries biologist I am pretty familiar with the Bolt decision and in prinipal the treaty seems fair. That said when I see the gill netters or purse seiners out when there are so few fish around things do not seem to add up. Pehaps it is that commercial fishing is so visible and one sees so many fish caught at one time it somehow seems worse than the several thousand sport boat fishing the sound on a given weekend or the thousands folks fishing the rivers. As for gill nets it is my personal opinion that they shoud be banned. With the Salmon stocks on the brink of failure in Puget Sound the non-selective nature of gill nets certainly will accelerate the stocks demise. Then there is the size selection issue with gill nets. Why are Puget Sound fish so much smaller than BC and other places? I also question the practice of using modern equipment and selling fish commercialy as it seems at odds with the principle of "traditional" fishing rights. The PR from the tribes is that these fisheries are for subsitence and tribal tradition puposes. BS

I spent a week in Seattle in August. I've posted a couple of times concerning my distress concerning the Puget Sound area. I'm not a biologist either, but I've been around enough water to know that something is very wrong in Puget Sound. I agree that "traditional" harvesting of Salmon doesn't seem to be the same as selling Wild Steelhead to grocers. As long as these beautiful and unfortunately, tasty creatures are viewed as food items instead of game fish the situation will only get worse. In The Gulf of Mexico, outlawing netting of Spotted Seatrout and other species dramatically improved the populations. At one time, Redfish were "harvested" in Florida for animal food, fertilizer, etc. What a jewel Puget Sound must have been 300 years ago. I wonder if the sewage outlet at Discovery Park ever appears on a tourist brochure. Have the Indians set a date for a "Last Salmon" ceremony or are they waiting for Whole Foods Market to give them the go ahead.


Active Member
Yep, this is pretty standard for that river. Every year they net the piss out of the lower reaches. I truly believe the Nooksack could be a good fish producer, but I've heard as much as 50-70% of the fish in that river are harvested. With the hatcheries and netting in that river it's basically managed as a put n' take.

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Here's my understanding of where we are:

A treaty was signed between whites and natives. That treaty was upheld in the courts up to and through the Federal system. The specifics of that legal finding can be explained by attorneys on the forum. There are thousands of sport anglers and miles of nets.

Spawning and rearing habitat has been degraded or destroyed. There will be increased pressure on habitat as the population of this area increases. More demand for forest products may also further degrade spawning habitat.

Salmon and other fish species are a limited resource.

So what is the realistic solution?


Where do we start? I haven't got the foggiest idea. Perhaps one solution is to buy a greater portion the resource from NA's while it's still in the water? I don't know. That's all I can come up with. There are many people much smarter than I who probably have better strategy about what can be done.

It's also possible that this is as good as it's going to get and the future of salmon fishing (and many of target fish species) is a declining sport.
The Nooksack appears to be managed as a hatchery river and not a recovery river.

I hope we start with mark selective harvesting and greater presence in the NOF process. We can not change the co-managers but as other groups, like the Colville tribes become better at harvest, releasing more wild fish then maybe someday, I hope the Nooksack could recover.


Active Member
Seems like whaling would have had every bit as much cultural significance as fishing to most coastal tribes, so it's a bit odd that we're not seeing fleets of loosely regulated diesel powered whaling ships with explosive tipped harpoons plying the waters for whales and selling the meat commercially, irrespective of their ESA status, for cultural purposes.

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