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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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thanks Bob

"I am concerned you are advocating the destruction of Wild steelhead caught in gill nets in the Olympic Pen Rivers of NW Washington as a "good" alternative to gill net caught fish only a few miles south. Wild steelhead are being exploited to extinction and now your are assisting in there demise and the promotion of gillnetting. I hope this decision was based on poor interpretation of information and you will change your recommedation to avoid rather than a "good alternative". Otherwise you will damage your credability. "

I guess I should have mentioned the Quin would be OK
 

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bushwhacker
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A short video on this and an easy way to send a quick message to Seafood Watch: http://bit.ly/wildsteelhead


Take OP Wild Steelhead Off The Menu
Seafood Watch claims wild steelhead harvested from the Olympic Peninsula are a "Good Alternative". The data says otherwise. Take action here.

Wild steelhead are engrained with a resilience that enables them to survive the litany of obstacles mankind throws in their path. But their resilience has its limits and some obstacles prove to be insurmountable.

Recently, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch - a guide for helping consumers make sustainable fish choices - threw such an obstacle in their path when they designated wild steelhead from Washington's coast as a sustainable fish choice, labeling it a "Good Alternative". This designation could be the nail in the coffin for the sharply declining wild steelhead populations in famed Olympic Peninsula rivers like the Hoh, Queets, and Bogachiel.

This designation means that increasingly threatened populations of wild steelhead can be sold nationwide in stores like Whole Foods Market as a sustainable food choice. Nothing could be further from the truth because for decades these wild steelhead populations have been returning at a fraction of historic abundance and declines have accelerated in recent years.

According to data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, wild steelhead populations on the Olympic Peninsula experienced as much as a 50 percent decline in numbers since 1980. Iconic rivers such as the Quillayute, Hoh and Bogachiel experienced some of the lowest returns on record in 2016. Today, these populations are on the verge of being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Recently, sport fishermen sacrificed their harvest rights and adopted less impactful fishing practices because they know wild steelhead are on the brink of collapse. Meanwhile, many tribes harvesting wild steelhead with gillnets refuse to implement stricter harvest plans, catch monitoring guidelines, or more responsible fishing practices for these nearly endangered fish.

It is absurd that Seafood Watch and their partners such as Whole Foods Market would label these fisheries a "Good Alternative". Not only does this label threaten these famed wild steelhead populations, but it also misleads well-intentioned consumers who will unknowingly purchase a threatened icon spiraling towards an endangered listing.

We respect tribal treaty rights to responsibly harvest salmon and steelhead when abundance allows. However, the long-term decline of wild runs, their current dire state, and the use of non-selective methods such as gillnets make it grossly inappropriate for these wild steelhead fisheries to be labeled as "sustainable".

Please take action and encourage your friends and family to do the same because if we don't fight for wild steelhead today, this iconic fish may be gone tomorrow.

To read the full Seafood Watch report from February 2017 that includes their allegations that wild steelhead harvested from the Olympic Peninsula are a "Good Alternative", click here.
 

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The Hoh River is under review!

The OP is a long ways for me to drive and fish for steelhead. Local rivers didn't have a season this year because escapement wasn't met.

I'm hoping that the steelhead anglers that read this forum are out fishing because I sure don't see much feedback and anger at Seafood Watch's "kill and eat wild steelhead" recomnedation. Didn't see much here either http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/forum/threads/seafood-watch-fails-again.124971/#post-1246123

I sent my .02 cents worth email to Seafood Watch and was rewarded with a response today that shows me that steelhead anglers need to get pissed off:
Hello Patrick,

Thank you for sharing your concern and feedback.

Seafood Watch makes every effort to ensure its reports reflect accurate scientific information. To that end, we welcome ongoing contact with tribal representatives, conservation groups and management authorities regarding current conservation efforts, recreational harvest restrictions and other important factors that could necessitate any change to the current rating.

In fact, this process has already yielded information that came out since the assessment was completed. That new information (low returns in the Hoh River in 2016) may lead to a change in rating for that river.

The updatedrecommendations follow. Also, please know that a yellow Good Alternative rating doesn't mean "sustainable" but, rather, there are issues people should be aware of before deciding to purchase.

AVOID: Steelhead from the Chehalis River

GOOD ALTERNATIVE: Steelhead from the Humptulips River, Quillayute River, Queets River and Quinault River.

UNDER REVIEW: Steelhead from the Hoh River

Any new data you have is appreciated and can be sent to us at [email protected].

In the meantime, the full scientific reports behind our recommendations are publicly available at ourwebsite under the specific rating.

Sincerely,

Peter Adame
Seafood Watch Engagement Coordinator
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ChaseBallard Thank you for posting the Wild Steelhead Coalition video here. As you can see, the people at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program are firmly convicted that exploiting these failing runs of wild steelhead is somehow a wise choise. I think this has to get into the news media.
 

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Our co managers have there own bios and ideas on the health of those runs. So you have the co managers telling the fish buyers that there are plenty of wild steelhead as they sell them by the hundreds from each river system every winter. In addition add to the equation that the WDFW has no authority over our co managers and there run estimates and you have the current situation. Our co managers have a pretty good racket going really. Cook the books to make the wild steelhead numbers larger than they actually are (hatchery steelhead and wild steelhead are considered the same) then net and sell the shit out of them with no recourse.
 

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Our co managers have there own bios and ideas on the health of those runs. So you have the co managers telling the fish buyers that there are plenty of wild steelhead as they sell them by the hundreds from each river system every winter. In addition add to the equation that the WDFW has no authority over our co managers and there run estimates and you have the current situation. Our co managers have a pretty good racket going really. Cook the books to make the wild steelhead numbers larger than they actually are (hatchery steelhead and wild steelhead are considered the same) then net and sell the shit out of them with no recourse.
Do you not think that an ESA listing wouldn't stop the selling if ALL fishing were stopped? Not trying to be sarcastic; here in Central WA we've dealt with river closures since '97 (or was it '96) with some seasons open if escapement was met. I guess the coastal rivers where "counts" aren't known poses a unique, and treacherous for the fish, circumstance. No verifiable data.

I wish I believed that @Bob Triggs thoughts that the media might be of benefit for fish management, but I sincerely doubt it. And yes, I'm a glass is half empty person when it comes to this.

"All fishing" - when the Feds and the State closed the Wenatchee, Methow, Entiat, Okanagan, Similkameen, and mainstem upper Columbia to angling (spring Chinook, steelhead), they did NOT curtail fishing for these same fish in the lower river.
 

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The problem is an ESA listing does not shut down tribal fisheries but it shuts down non tribal fisheries. It may reduce tribal harvest but not eliminate it. Case and point ESA protected white river spring Chinook. they have been listed for 20 plus years and the tribes gill net them every spring while marine area 11 is closed and the river proper to recreation fishing.
 

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The problem is an ESA listing does not shut down tribal fisheries but it shuts down no tribal fisheries. It may reduce tribal harvest but not eliminate it. Case and point ESA protected white river spring Chinook. they have been listed for 20 plus years and the tribes gill net them every spring while marine area 11 is closed and the river proper to recreation fishing.
I guess I'm not surprised, thanks for the enlightenment (and, unfortunately, further disillusionment).
 

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Wishin I was on the Sauk
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The tribe's also do the spawner surveys on the coast and pad the numbers for their benefit. There was a young bio that was hired by the tribe's, he was told where to throw the markers and they where not near any redds or in areas that would have redds.
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"So you have the co managers telling the fish buyers that there are plenty of wild steelhead as they sell them by the hundreds from each river system every winter."
I just want to note here that the number is in the thousands, not hundreds.
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Do you not think that an ESA listing wouldn't stop the selling if ALL fishing were stopped? Not trying to be sarcastic; here in Central WA we've dealt with river closures since '97 (or was it '96) with some seasons open if escapement was met. I guess the coastal rivers where "counts" aren't known poses a unique, and treacherous for the fish, circumstance. No verifiable data.

I wish I believed that @Bob Triggs thoughts that the media might be of benefit for fish management, but I sincerely doubt it. And yes, I'm a glass is half empty person when it comes to this.

"All fishing" - when the Feds and the State closed the Wenatchee, Methow, Entiat, Okanagan, Similkameen, and mainstem upper Columbia to angling (spring Chinook, steelhead), they did NOT curtail fishing for these same fish in the lower river.
Media exposure, protests, lobbying and public opinion and pressure is what set the stage for the Boldt Decision to happen.
 

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bushwhacker
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@ChaseBallard Thank you for posting the Wild Steelhead Coalition video here. As you can see, the people at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program are firmly convicted that exploiting these failing runs of wild steelhead is somehow a wise choise. I think this has to get into the news media.
I agree Bob. We're on it. One hit so far: http://nwsportsmanmag.com/headlines...n-steelhead-on-seafood-watch-ok-list-decried/

A few larger national groups have picked up the cause today as well.
 

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Media exposure, protests, lobbying and public opinion and pressure is what set the stage for the Boldt Decision to happen.
Bob, first of all, I appreciate your passion and hope in keeping this issue alive. I support you and the issue 100%!

I don't remember much of anything regarding media exposure, protests, lobbying, public opinion and pressure on the Boldt decision. But my "glass is half empty" attitude in today's world is we, as sportsmen, take a distant last place in media exposure and in public opinion if you place us against the folks that are gill netting the rivers. I hope I'm wrong. I'm going to send @ChaseBallard 's link to my congressman - just out of curiosity to see if he will respond.
 

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bushwhacker
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Just an FYI, Seafood Watch is now sending form responses to those who contact them about this. Below is my response to their response. Please feel free to recycle or reuse any of this content or the language on Wild Steelhead Coalition's page if it's helpful. This article also has more details.

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your response, by the sound of it you're sending many of them out.

But as you've undoubtedly heard by now, your response and the revelation that Seafood Watch is now reviewing the "Good Alternative" designation for the Hoh River further undermine your organization and it's credibility unless the same review is also considered for the Quillayute and Queets rivers at the very minimum.

For instance if your reasoning for reviewing the Hoh is that it once again did not make escapement goals and returns were at a near record low in 2016, then the same reasoning and review should be applied to the Quillayute system, where the same was true in 2016.

Or if your reasoning for reviewing the Hoh is that it's returns of wild winter steelhead have declined by more than 34 percent since 1980, then why not also review the Queets, where despite arguably the best steelhead habitat in the Lower 48, much of it protected in Olympic National Park, runs have declined by more than 47 percent by 1980. In the Queets as in these other rivers, over-harvest, insufficient catch monitoring, and a lack of approved fisheries management plans by tribal commercial fishers using non-selective gillnets are the primary factors still pushing these fish towards an Endangered listing.

We respect tribal treaty rights to responsibly harvest salmon and steelhead when abundance allows. However, the long-term decline of Washington's wild steelhead runs, their current dire state, and the use of non-selective methods such as gillnets make it grossly inappropriate for Seafood Watch to label these fisheries as a "Good Alternative", a label that conjures false notions of sustainability in the minds of grocers and consumers.

The fervent reaction from fish conservationists in the Pacific Northwest you're no doubt hearing should not come as a surprise. My organization and several others have previously sent messages urging Seafood Watch to reexamine these designations and consider the latest data from sources independent from the tribal commercial fishers.

At this point, Seafood Watch needs to make clear that it recognizes the flaws in it's assessment of these fisheries by publishing a statement withdrawing "Good Alternative" designations for all non-selective wild steelhead fisheries on Washington's coast. And then reexamining them with an eye towards the latest data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the use of assessment methods designed for in-river salmonid fisheries, and a critical mindset regarding non-selective gillnet fisheries, for both wild steelhead and by-catch. Anything less severely comprises the integrity and reputation of your organization.

Sincerely,
Chase
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Bob, first of all, I appreciate your passion and hope in keeping this issue alive. I support you and the issue 100%!

I don't remember much of anything regarding media exposure, protests, lobbying, public opinion, and pressure on the Boldt decision. But my "glass is half empty" attitude in today's world is we, as sportsmen, take a distant last place in media exposure and in public opinion if you place us against the folks that are gill netting the rivers. I hope I'm wrong. I'm going to send @ChaseBallard 's link to my congressman - just out of curiosity to see if he will respond.
@ChaseBallard
To clarify my comments, on the efficacy of protests, civil actions, civil disobedience, lobbying public opinion, and media pressure, directed toward those in authority- all of that was instrumental in the tribes succeeding in having their treaty rights reaffirmed by judge Boldt. Before that, no one listened and no one cared, especially not the state of Washington.
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Updated.

Copied from the Piscatorial forum today:

"FYI,

Year 2016,-- Commercial steelhead harvest in WA state waters was 154.2 metric tons = 339,952.89 pounds.

N. Puget sound 9.4 Metric tons
S. Puget Sound 35.4 Mt
Coastal 89.3 Mt
CR area 20.1 Mt

Unfortunately, it did not differentiate between Wild or Hatchery harvest in coastal waters for this thread topic."

This was a later follow up:

"Originally Posted By: Lucky Louie

Unfortunately, it did not differentiate between Wild or Hatchery harvest in coastal waters for this thread topic.

Actually, maybe this gives some kind of an idea.


Statewide 2016
Feb---------29.5 metric tons
March-------8.4 metric tons
April---------2.0 Mt
May----------1.4 Mt"
 
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