10 Year Salmon Closure. WA. Help Needed

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports' started by Bushmanj85, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Bushmanj85

    Bushmanj85 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2015
    Juneau, Alaska
    Hi Everyone, my home state is facing a 10 year salmon closure because the WDFW went behind everyone's back and made an agreement with the tribes with out any public discussion this year (first time this has ever happened) and drafted a plan to be approved by NOAA that shuts down salmon fishing for only sportsman for 10 years.... This is a complete disaster, and it was all over 12 fish. My fishing club and I are asking for help, I am hoping some PNW people on here can copy and paste this email from the Puget Sound Anglers president, and send it off to our senators. No one wants to be off the water for 10 years. It will destroy the fishing industry, and it will not help the salmon population one bit. a good article to read on this can be found here: https://tidalexchange.com/2018/01/04/wdfw-gives-up-puget-sound-fishing-for-nothing/

    Thank you again if you can help email this to our senators.

    We need your help and you need to send an email immediately to the WDFW Commission telling them that the Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan Is bad for Washington. We need people to show up at the January 19 Commission meeting in Ridgefield Washington.

    This plan went sideways with one small component of the plan-the Stillaguamish River Chinook. Its a broken river that can barely produce wild fish. This portion of the plan was signed at a time when the top two WDFW Fishery managers were out of Country. Director Unsworth and Fish Program Manager were not present! There was haste in signing the document by a deadline. What is at stake? If enacted, you will see massive fishing closures from La Push on the coast, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, up through the San Juans, down to Tacoma. There will be very limited fishing in a few areas and closures in most. This saves approximately 9-10 fish that the plan itself states that the river cannot recover due to habitat-not fishing. A self destructive plan was not required. How would little to no fishing effect your life-for the next 10 years?

    Yes, the Stillaguamish River needs our help and we do not disagree with that. It needs fixed and that is the only way that wild fish will recover. Why punish all other fisheries? It is not the solution to the problem. We need to reassure the commission that they are the policy board for WDFW. Taken straight from the WDFW Commission homepage, “The Commission is the supervising authority for the Department.”

    We need you to send this out to everyone you know and email the commission, in your own words. We are counting on them to do the right thing and stop this self manufactured disaster. They need to give direction to Director Unsworth to tell the tribes we have to go back to the drawing board and fix the Stillaguamish River Component, and should revert it back to the previous Management Plan criteria. If that cannot be done then we have to pull out of the plan entirely. The other important step is to tell them it is imperative they do not allow this plans framework to be used in 2018 as it will kill our fisheries. Please feel free to use any part of the letter and fact sheet below. They need to hear from you now! We will follow up with another voter voice next week before the January 19 Commission meeting in Ridgefield, WA.

    Email address for Commission to send letter and comments to:

    We need you at the Jan 19 Commission meeting, to show opposition to the plan. Lets fill the room!
    Open Comment 9:45am – Probably 3 minutes maximum to speak.
    Managment Plan is to be at 2:00 PM
    January 19, 2018
    WDFW Region 5 Office
    Room 102A
    5525 S 11th Street
    Ridgefield, WA 98642
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  2. Bushmanj85

    Bushmanj85 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2015
    Juneau, Alaska
    Dear Commissioners,
    I am writing you about the controversial Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan. This plan was not well thought out and you were excluded from the process. This plan is a needless self-made-disaster due to WDFW not fully doing their homework and signed by the Director. This appears to be making steps towards conservation, when in fact it does nothing for conservation on the Stillaguamish river, the main driver. I am attaching a fact sheet to explain why. Instead it will cause severe hardships for its constituents and Washington State businesses. It is going to bankrupt many of them (it has already started the domino effect). It does not fix the real problem driver that sinks the ship, the Stillaguamish River. I am attaching a Dec. 28 letter from Master Marine of cancelation of new boat building orders. Charters are calling me and bailing out trying to sell their boats and charter licenses. This was seeks ago so I am sure this getting worse. We have solutions that can work and are glad to share with you. This plan was finalized and signed at a time when, Ron Warren the Fish Program Manager and Director Jim Unsworth were both out of the country, to meet the deadline. The two top fishery department leads were not there in person to inspect and finish the plan. Had Ron Warren been there, I guarantee this would not have happened. We believe only 1-2 staff members are in favor of the Stilly portion and the rest of staff is not. The Stillaguamish has very small amount of habitat for wild fish to spawn. Sediment is a major problem in this river. Stopping all fishing will not recover the Stilly Chinook. The PSCHMP states this in it! The general public understand this and is outraged that this has gone this far. Conspiracy theories are being pondered because common sense is being ruled out. The Commission needs to stand against this and right the wrong. North of Falcon 2018 is coming fast. This management plan cannot be used as a framework for this year’s NOF 2018. The plan has got to be sent back to the drawing board for alteration or be rescinded altogether. This plan is a disaster in the making for Washington state. Some of the tribes are not on board with it either. The tribes did not cause this. It’s a WDFW problem.

    The new Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan will close or severely restrict saltwater salmon fishing from La Push to Tacoma, including the San Juans, and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Also will devastate Washington State boat manufacturing, its sales, tackle manufacturers, tackle retailers, marinas, and coastal communities. Not to mention unjustly remove available fisheries from WDFW’s own constituents. Closed fisheries will not fund WDFW and it is cutting its own throat. Below are the reasons that this plan has to be altered or back out of the deal. It might be uncomfortable but is the right thing to do. We have been holding back the floodgates of the general fishing public until we got to the bottom of this.

    Expectations from WDFW on the 338 page Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan were very disappointing. They did not model all of the plans to be able to project the future before signing off. WDFW did not work on behalf of its stakeholders/constituents concerns as the lead negotiator. We constituent’s license fees pay to keep WDFW funded. In return, we have expectations from our partners to negotiate in good faith for us. It’s a partnership.

    Stillaguamish River Chinook Component is the constraining stock of the entire plan and this is what we are talking about.

    1. Were Stillaguamish Conservation goals met, and what is wrong with the Stillaguamish River?

    A. NO, this is not a fishing problem but strictly a habitat problem. Stated in the plan itself. By cutting fishing for the last 30 years, in this area, has not fixed this habitat. Page 167 from the PS Chinook RMP states, "Due to the limited productivity of existing habitat, it is unlikely that
    fishery actions alone can rebuild abundance of Stillaguamish Chinook to higher levels. "

    B. The available spawning habitat on the Stillaguamish River can only hold approximately 930 spawners. The wild fish in this river system are battling to survive due to very little available spawning habitat.

    C. Oso mudslide in Stilly is only a smaller part of the sediment problem. USGS study: “Based on this estimate, landslide material accounted for about 30 percent of the total suspended sediment load in the lower Stillaguamish River between March 2014 and September 2015.” Page 44- Geomorphic Response of the North Fork Stillaguamish River to the State Route 30 landslide near Oso, Washington," a 2017 report." Only 30% is from the mudslide! The Stilly is in very bad shape! Sediment is a major problem.

    2. WDFW is supposed to enhance fisheries for its constituents when available. This plan does the exact opposite. It crushes our fishing, economy, boat and tackle manufacturers, Charter businesses, retailers, hotels, marinas, etc. According to a 2011 study, it shows 1.6 Billion dollars were spent on hunting and fishing in Washington State. This is attached.
  3. Bushmanj85

    Bushmanj85 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2015
    Juneau, Alaska
    Major Problems with the plan:
    1. WDFW Commission, is its Policy body, was never reported to, advised, nor asked for recommendations. The commission is part of WDFW and should not have been excluded. Now is their chance to right this wrong.

    2. A new lower coast wide impact rate was the only requirement to be applied to the Stilly. NMFS (Feds) requirement was that it be dropped from the previous rate of 25% to 24% (Alaska, Canada, and lower U.S.) coast wide. The SUS portion (southern U.S. below the Canadian border) was previously managed to be below 15%. (The 15% is combined-us and the tribes.) Between us and our neighbors to the north, we needed to stay below the new overall 24% rate. Somewhere a new 8% impact rate was agreed to and changed from a target to a ceiling or cap. We have asked WDFW repeatedly who required this new low of 8%?
    To date-Still No Answer.

    3. Not only was the 8% agreed to but it was not modeled across past fisheries to see how they would have played out. You have to know how any new plan effects the future by applying it to the past. Especially before being handcuffed to it for 10 years. It was modeled for us weeks after the plan was signed, per our request. In the past 5 years we averaged 13% showing that those our Puget Sound fisheries would have been cut in 2016 we had a no agreement at North of Falcon negotiations.

    4. The Stilly Management Chinook was changed adding and protecting a hatchery Chinook. In doing this the entire management of that river has to be remodeled and changes made because of this. Agreeing to this Stilly component in its current form should never have been allowed. Once studied and new management applied, should lessen constraints on all other fisheries.

    5. This plan penalizes all Washington State Saltwater Fisheries. It either completely closes or severely restricts all saltwater salmon fisheries. 3 of the 13 areas that will not be affected with Stillaguamish Chinook (Ilwaco, Westport, and Olympia) will still have repercussions from being the only place to fish with open seasons that will end quickly due to overwhelming crowds.

    6. Top two WDFW fishery managers were out of the country and not there for the final negotiation/signing.
    This non-required decision is detrimental to all of Washington State fisheries and our economy. This plan would only save approximately 9-10 Stilly Chinook on a non-recoverable river in its current state. Foregone Opportunity can be used by tribes to take our share too, when we are not even on the water. This needs to be mentioned.

    This plan is a full circle destruction of WDFW and here is why:
    Closed fisheries cuts funding as license sales will drop off dramatically.
    These fees fund the department.
    WDFW will not have adequate funding as license sales are a giant portion of their budget.
    WDFW is causing lost support from almost all recreational fishers.
    When fisheries are closed, Legislature will close hatcheries. Our license fees fund hatcheries. If we can’t fish then legislature will not fund them.
    Less hatchery fish will expose the few wild fish left to predators such as seals and sea lions.
    (New study shows 86% of smolts are eaten by harbor seals in the Salish sea.)
    The orcas we are trying to save thorough hatchery increases will be further harmed.
    The wild fish will completely disappear.

    As commissioners you took this seat to do the right thing for our resources. We want to make sure you understand what this plan really says and does. It drives the last nail in the Washington state salmon fisheries coffin. You were purposely left out of being able to manage and oversee decision making on this issue.
    We see three options for you.
    1. Do nothing and let this collapse happen on your watch

    2. Talk with the tribes and they understand that we want the Stilly component of the plan revised. The 8% ceiling shall be changed to a target. The rest of the plan stays intact.

    3. Completely pull out of the plan entirely.

    At our Dec 20th meeting between WDFW Staff and Recreational Stakeholders, at the end, Director Unsworth told us he would be having a meeting with the Commission for them to tell him what to do. This is your chance to fix this. Direct Director Unsworth to alter the plan per above. If it cannot be done then tell him to rescind the plan.
    We recommend to you, Commissioners, revising the portion of the Stilly for the plan, and feel is the best option. If we cannot get agreement then we have to pull out of the plan entirely. It is an option that you can take up with Mr. Grossman of the AGs office. We have been told it is an option. I am sure you do not want the fisheries and businesses collapse to be on your watch. You have the chance to make a difference and save our Sound. Please do not accept this plan as is. I am available for you to answer questions and help guide you if needed. Feel free to contact me.

    Thank you.

    Ron Garner
    PSA President
  4. fisherlady2

    fisherlady2 Well-Known Member

    Wow! I hope you guys prevail on this, looks like a real disaster in the making for the waterfront marine economies and the support industries.
    Maybe all the recreational boaters need to refuse to buy 2018 registrations, along with licenses, so the funding is cut to the state.... someone, somewhere is getting a benefit through this...finding out who that is and exposing them needs to be a priority also.
    What impact is expected on the commercial fishing quotas... if recreational fisherman aren't harvesting salmon are they going to allow a higher quota (and profit) for the commercial guys, and does this open areas for the commercial guys which historically were 'clogged' with large #s of recreational boats which made it impossible to maneuver the large trollers? If this is the case then again a money factor looms large and back room deals become possible reasons for trying to 'get rid of' recreational boats from the fishing grounds.
  5. Bushmanj85

    Bushmanj85 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2015
    Juneau, Alaska
    Fisherlady2, this has already happened. Last year everyone was kicked off the water in a few of our designated marine areas, and limited to "shore fishing only" for salmon, (good luck catching one this way unless you live in Alaska), and the prior year, there was no fishing either. But of course, the tribes and commercials still get to put their mile long nets out with higher quotas. For some reason, the blame always comes down to the sportsman, who use hook and line. WA wont even let sportsman use barbed hooks, or treble hooks. We have very selective gear to use. I find it very hard that we do more damage than the nets.

    However, a bigger thing too is habitat restoration. The state only gives 1% to habitat each year, and it needs to be more like 20%. WA is projected to have 2 million more residents over the next decade, and with more houses being built on rivers, it will destroy the already depleted breeding grounds to a point that it will never be able to recover from.

    Someone is getting a big fat check for this, and the sportsman and public cannot compete with the big checks of the tribal casinos and commercial outfitters. WA is in dire need of help from anyone that is willing to fight with us to keep us fishing. This is uncharted territory for us, and we are all concerned about our fishing rights being taken away.
  6. fisherlady2

    fisherlady2 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like kick backs and boys club back slaps are having more to do with the deals than any conservation plans... wish there was a way for the sportsmen to be able to force audits to follow the money...that would tell the tale more than any political double speak ever could.
  7. Bushmanj85

    Bushmanj85 Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2015
    Juneau, Alaska
    as much as I cant stand the tribes, a lot of the different tribes in the state has the sportsmans back on this one. Its just a few bad apples causing all of this. But what irritates me even more, is that us sportsmans have to submit catch records every season, while the tribes are supposed to as well, but they haven't submitted anything in over a decade. And we all know they are overfishing the hell out of it
  8. joel@vomhoko.com

    joel@vomhoko.com Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2015
    Pacific Northwest
    Now you understand why we fish Canadian waters and why we love our Shamrocks to make the runs and escape the nonesense and WDFW Nazis.
    The 1974 Boldt Decision was the beginning of the end and determined legal tribal rights to harvest in WA. Unfortunately, it failed IMHO to recognize and distinguish between traditional rights and methods of harvest vs modern day fisheries and commercialization. That is what creates the a fundamental dilemna. I'm sorry, but when I can buy fresh salmon from the tribes for $1.99/pound, that represents an over-supplied ecomony, in short over-harvesting by the "commercial" fisherman. Kumbaya Washington and the lack of honest and progressive harvest reports by the tribes further undermines the science, while the heavy handed commercial lobby further neuters any will that never can be had from our ever apologetic WDFW bureaucrats. Furthermore, the politization of outdated Fish Consumptions Rates (google it) provides even more fuel to the tribal fires and then let's pile on ocean acidification concerns for our shell fisheries. All political hot buttons the tribes are becoming even more successful in achieving WDFW kowtow.
    But don't expect one iota of change of policy from our Feds either folks....with the current administration, which clearly encourages commerical laissez faire economics and damn the environment, we now have what our fellow citizens voted for.
    Read it an weep....

    Here's the plan:

    Additional perspectives on the subject for those interested:


  9. Captain Starbucks

    Captain Starbucks Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2013
    Well written fellas.

    Subscribing. I want to keep up to date.
  10. Mistress

    Mistress Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    San Jose, CA
    That sucks arse. Is this just in the sound or ocean also?

    Wasn't it last fall, where a bunch of farmed salmon got loose and they wanted folks to catch as many as they could?

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