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Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-06-2007 10:19 PM
Eric Floaters on the Flood and Divers on the Ebb:

I put in $0.02, Feiger puts in a dollar. Thanks, Feiger, for laying out your position so eloquently.

I am not opposed at all to commercial harvest of andromous salmonids. Salmon are, and, I hope, will always be an important staple in the diet of our continent's peoples.

Nevertheless, I do take issue with gillnets. I believe the gillnet's indiscriminate slaughter of everything caught in it -- hatchery fish down to the last Snake River sockeye -- is an abomination in light of today's critical need for preserving the threatened and endangered races of Pacific salmon and steelhead.

I agree the best time to harvest salmon and steelhead is when they first enter estuaries and fresh water. Nothing compares to a snow-belly Spring Chinook as table fare, and far be in from me to deny the non-angler this seasonal treat. The same goes for other harvestable populations of salmon and steelhead.

Remember that the Columbia River fisheries were in sharp decline long before the first dam was constructed. The fisheries were in decline because of over-harvest by commericials, chiefly gill-netters. The gill-netters, even at that time, were well organized and well-heeled, and able to shift blame for the declining runs on the fish wheels. The gill-netter has had his day, like the market gunner, and it's time to realize that.

Commercial fishermen have a place at the table, most certainly: along with conservationists, Tribes, anglers, and all others with an interest in preserving salmon and steelhead. Commercial fishermen must realize, though, that harvest must become selective and target only specific stocks. Since the gill net is non-selective, it cannot remain a harvest tool, except in very defined and limited areas.

I believe, also, that we must take as strong a position as possible on this and not be too anxious to compromise. There will be a meeting somewhere in the middle, and I don't to lose any more than we already have.

Thanks for this dialog -- it's really helpful,


02-06-2007 09:10 PM
flytyer I honestly don't think the commercials will modify or change their behavior, fishing practices, or vuluntarily cut back their harvest. Instead, I see the commercials doing what they have done historically, advocate for more harvest opportunity and increased hatchery plants regardless of the effects of wild fish. Therefore, the only way I see the commercials cutting back their harvest or stopping it for a while is through restrictive regulation. That is why I don't think they should be at the table.

I view it the same way Pennsylvania did the coal mining industry when they passed the restrictions on coal mining and forced the mining industry to clean up after itself back in 1967. The coal industry screamed that they should have been at the table and that it was unfair to single them out. Thankfully, the restrictions and cleanup requirements were put into place, and done so without input from the coal mining companies.
02-05-2007 10:12 PM

Russ, there's a PM in your inbox.... no reason to flame out over a discussion where were not on the same page...

The larger point, I guess is also being missed. My guess is it comes down to whether or not one believes commercial fisherman and that industry has a seat at the table of what is wild salmon and steelhead recovery efforts. If you don't, then my arguement and original post, and the one that followed are moot...

I, however, think they do. I don't think we, those that are concerned about and desire to see abundant and healthy wild salmon and steelhead systems, can afford not to have them there. As stated in my previous post, I don't think we can afford to loose the political and financial clout (in all the forms previously described) in the battle for those fish. As fisher/conservationists alone, we have little if any political capitol to change policy in the management of wild salmonids. We are unorganized, dispersed, and have no financial weight to speak of. The rediculous debacle that was the failure to get no harvest regulations on wild fish on the OP is proof of that... As mentioned above, those commercial fisherman and that industry (along w/ the much maligned Tribes) are a driving reason why the Federal Government is before federal judges, being forced to develop real and workable salmon management plans in the Columbia basin and the Klamath Basin. And why we may actually see real change in the management/presence of dams on those systems, as seen in recent events on the Klamath Basin.

Given that one desires to have the commercial fisherman and that industry at the table (and yeah, I may be the only one here that does), the only way you will get them to modify their behaviors and beliefs is to be able to talk with them. And that requires listening. That requires being willing to hear their concerns, their beliefs, their desires, wants and needs. That requires being able to understanding where they are coming from. Only then will we find ways to strengthen the things we have in common, diminish the things you don't, and work effectively together to overcome common "enemies" (urban developement of watershed, hydroelectric projects, fish farms, timber harvest practices, irrigators, etc.)... It's called collaboration. That was the point of my original post... And those who give a damn about wild salmon and steelhead can't afford not to participate.
02-04-2007 05:27 PM
flytyer Feiger,

In Pennsylvania at least, market hunters had a very devistating effect on wild game, especially deer and elk. The deer and elk populations were so decimated that there was only one small area in the whole state where elk were still found (and is the only place in the state they are still found today). That was in the nearly inaccessible national forest lands on both sides of the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania"). The deer population was also severely impacted by the market hunters, who not only shot them for resturants, the also shot them for the local grocery store and butcher.

After market hunting was banned in Pennsylvania around 1900, the deer populations began to rebound, as did the elk. The deer populations continued to grow even during the height of deep shaft and strip mining for coal (and all the very bad things coal mining, especially early strip mining practices did to the environment) occurred duing the 20's to through the 50's.

Today, deer are so abundant in Pennsylvania that they have become a nuisance in some areas. In fact, up until the time I left Pennsylvania in 1979 at age 25, there was only a 2-day doe season for deer, and that was held on a Monday and Tuesday. Now there are as much as several weeks of doe season to help control the population, and this despite more housing development, more strip malls, more big-box stores, etc., which as far as I know have never been conducive to habitat needed by wild game animals.

The elk population has increased too; however, it has been much slower to rebound somewhat due to how few elk were left (estimated at only about 40 animals) when market hunting was banned, and also due to poaching in the remote area they still hung on. Also, the area the elk hung on is prime habitat that has never been developed or mined and which is virutually roadless. Elk have rebounded despite the poaching and the very low numbers left in 1900 to around 800 animals.

The bison of North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Eastern Colorado, and Oklahoma were likewise almost made extinct by market hunters. Likewise as least on bird species in the US was made extinct by market hunting.

There is also the lesson of the east coast stripers. When commercial netting of stripers was going on to a fairly large extent back in the 50's and 60's, the striper population was so impacted along the eastern seaboard that all striper fishing was shut down for a while. There was a dramatic rebound in striper populations after commercial netting for them was banned and as a result there has been very good striper fishing once again for quite a while and good populations of them despite pretty heavy sportsfishing.

Therefore, I must respectfully disagree with you on commercial hunting or fishing not having had a large and negative impact on game animals and fish.
02-04-2007 03:12 PM
never mind...

stupid frickin' dial-up.... one to many submission-button clicks...
02-04-2007 03:08 PM
oh, but it's not that simple, Eric....

Apples and Oranges......
Commercial hunters of yore were but a small part of the local and larger national economy. Easy targets. The only losers in their demise were the hunters themselves, and perhaps the markets that sold their birds, the restaurants that offered them up, and the public that ate them. Oh, and maybe the guy that sold him the shot and powder for his battery guns... Because of their limited/non-existent political clout, they were easy targets for the newly minted hunter conservationist movement, brought out through leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and others. The market hunters didn't stand a chance. And yet the impact of their demise probably wasn't all that... habitat degradation through loss of beaver and great plains wetlands and wintering grounds, industrialization, et al. still continued to take it's toll, along w/ drought, and so many other factors that affect waterfowl populations... and continue to this day... And yes, the only ones that really lost were the hunters themselves, and yeah, am sure they found something else to do. And the restaurants and public certainly still got their duck. However, this time it was coming from FARMS, raised in mass production facilities (kinda like turkeys). No word on the environmental impact of those operations, however. But certainly that sounds familiar, right??

On the other hand, you have a fishing industry that is politically and economically powerful, and a native fishing program that's legally protected. the latter protected by treaty and court order, and won't be going away anytime soon. The former is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies, including the fisherman, and all the support services and industries, etc. that surround, feed off of, and support that way of life. And that impact ripples out through the national and even global economy. Writing letters in search of legislation to make it "go away" won't go anywhere. And through the economic power they have, the political clouts goes w/ it. Case in point ~ the commercial fishery for salmon along the northern California/Oregon coast was shut down this past year to protect endangered salmon in the Klamath Basin. In response to that decision, the politicians, and the money, came running w/ financial assistance and political focus on the plight of the Klamath Basin. W/ that focus comes word that court ordered changes to allow fish passage on existing dams, or, in leu of that being economically impossible, the dismantling of those dams. And, changes in flows and insurance of minimum flows to meet habitat needs, and.... That same economic and political clout (not to mention the Tribes of the Columbia River Basin) has the Federal Government before Federal Judge Redden for the 4th time w/ a court directed re-write of the salmon management plan for the Columbia and Snake River systems. W/ the threat that if the National Marine Fisheries Service (fed gov) doesn't come up w/ a real and workable management plan that REALLY considers the effects and potential removal of the 4 lower Snake River dams, he'll do it for them. Fat chance THAT ever happening from a letter writing campaign from WSC and it's membership...

Speaking of which, let's look at our "success".... Even after an extensive letter writing campaign to get the State of Washington DNR to withdrawal the harvest of wild steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula (of which I, and I'm certain you participated in), public testimony, and limited political influence, and the short term success of a proposed halt to wild fish retention, ultimately political and economic clout (however misguided) won out, and that proposal went out the door. Strike one up for...well, not us...

My point of this rant? What ever short term gains may be achieved by seeing the local gill netter go away, and however that may affect the plight of wild salmonids, at least locally, the difference in the larger battle that is wild salmonid populations across the pacific coast won't be all that... the tribals will still be netting, the dams and hatcheries on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will still be there, as it will on the Skagit, and all the other S Rivers, and the Frasier, and... and the fish farms will likely still be there, along w/ their political and economic clout, because the demand for cheap salmon, no matter how bad the substitute, isn't going away either. And yet, what you've lost is yet another local voice that essentially want's the same thing we want. And while the industry at large will continue to remain, in lands far away from the PNW, locally it will disappear. And with one less voice, or for that matter many less voices, clout for abundant wild salmonids and functioning watersheds and all they we desire will diminish with it. And those who "want something else" (strip malls, housing developments, clearcuts, cheap hydroelectric power, "farm fresh fish") will only grow stronger...

"first they came for the commercial fisherman, but I didn't speak up, for they did not matter to me....................Then they came for me, but no one spoke up for me, for there was no one left to speak (and those that remained didn't give a $%^& that I wanted to catch and release wild steelhead)..."

Loosing any voice that supports more wild fish and healthy salmon systems is not acceptable. We will eventually loose for it. And to keep that voice intact, and hopefully expand them, you HAVE to know and understand them and their issues and concerns, and values and wants needs and desires, in the same way you have to share your own. W/ out that, we won't find ways past the disagreements and different perspectives. Which was the original point of my previous post, which apparently you didn't get..........
02-04-2007 06:28 AM
SALMONCHASER That strange drifting hay bale phenomena happens on this side of the world as well.
My experience with bands or tribes is it is almost always two or three pissed off "warriors" who really stir the pot. I've seen these guys do some sick sh*! just because a so-called right says they can
02-04-2007 02:26 AM
andre There have to be a few locals who might loose a bail or so of hay "out their" truck when those nets are in thre river.
02-03-2007 08:03 PM

it is unconsciable to use a method that kills everything on a system with wild endangered stocks. How many sockeye make it to Redfish Lake or are the extinct? Every one of those returning wild fish is valuable, and supposedly protected, we can't kill them at least - nor would I want to.
02-03-2007 04:53 PM
flytyer Very well put Eric.
02-03-2007 04:01 PM
Eric The answer to the work-ethnic and satisfaction-from-a-difficult-job-well-done agrument for symphasizing with the gill-netter is to recall the waterfowl market hunters of the late 19th and early 20th century. The majority of these guys were master hunters; dedicated to their profession; supplied hotels and restaurants with prime poultry not available through other sources; put in long, hard hours under difficult conditions; had considerable investments in gear; were not compensated well enough to justify their efforts and expenses; and on and on. The market gunner, though, is history, because the resource could no longer tolerate his exploitation of the resource.

It's come to that with the Columbia anadromous fishery. I believe it's that simple.

My $0.02

02-03-2007 11:24 AM
Ripley's point needs to be taken to heart...

Like so many issues facing steelhead and wild salmonids in general, one really has to get to know and understand the problem, and just as importantly, the perspective of the "other side of the arguement". W/ out that, there's no way to effectively communicate not only your opinion, desires, wants, and needs, but also understand theirs. And w/ out that, discussions will be nothing more than wars of words... It's not winner take all out there. If it were, I guarantee, minus the ESA, we'll loose. When it comes to natural resources, and their protection and preservation, "our" side of the movement is not nearly organized enough, nor funded enough, to compete w/ economic interests of development, commercial fishing, etc.

Todd makes an excellent point, and highlights a reason why "providing bodies at the dam/collection point" won't cut it. They're not out there w/ gill nets just to put bodies in the boat, frozen slabs in the freezer. For them, there's something to the hardwork of putting out nets, the early mornings and late nights, the repairing of gear, and the comradery of working w/ others of the same ilk... Sound familier?? exchange a few adjectives and nouns, and you'll probably find the descriptions of why YOU fish for these critters. Along the same line, loggers don't log simply to put a paycheck in their pocket, nor do ranchers graze to put bread on the table. There's a culture to those activities that puts them there, and their desire to maintain that way of life. If you don't get that, then you'll never be able to communicate w/ them, and ultimately won't get the changes you desire...

my .02....
01-17-2007 05:38 PM
tbuehrens Todd- While I may not want to "get mine that way" by catching fish at a hatchery, just like a commercial may not want to "get his that way" by dip netting at bonneville fish ladder, my fishing and all sport fishing is way more selective (different gear, water, for different fish) and has lower mortality on protected stocks (gillnet vs. barbless hook c&r). I don't sympathize when the impact badly managed gillnet fisheries have is so astronomical. I see your point though.
01-17-2007 12:46 PM
juro Skilly -

That seems like a great idea for early arriving hatchery salmon runs and hatchery steelhead which hold their condition in fresh water a lot longer than pacific salmon but the definition of 'excess' may prove difficult to gauge because the hatchery is not likely to give up a quota of the first bright arrivals for harvest (before egg collection) and the Indians are not likely to accept dark kelts for market so there is a conflict of interest there that would have to be worked out. Not impossible to work out though, perhaps a ratio or something. Better than gillnetting that's for sure.

A combination of the two approaches would make sense.
01-17-2007 11:36 AM
Todd Ripley I'm sensing a little disconnect here between what might be going on, and what people think might be going on.

I learned early on in my advocacy career that commercial fishermen, be they tribal or non-tribal, don't do it just for the pile of fish in the bins at the end of the day...they actually like to go out fishing, but use a different tool than the rest of us...typically a gillnet. That's why buyouts aren't easy to implement, and why community commercial efforts such as fish wheels and fish traps aren't likely to gain wide acceptance in the commercial industry until they are forced to use them.

For every person who suggests that the commercial guys just take their catch out of the hatchery excess at the fish ladders and hatchery raceways, a worthwhile suggestion would be that those sport anglers go up to the hatchery and get their fish that way, too..."But I want to catch mine on a rod and reel!"...they're right if that's their response, but it's the same response that the commercial guys will give you..."But I want to go out in my boat, set my net, and get mine that way!"...

Just something to keep in mind.

I'd love to see the further implementation of fish traps and wheels, and the use of purse seines in the still can harvest target fish and release non-target fish with very little or no incidental mortality...but I have a hard time convincing the commercial fishers themselves that it would be as satisfying for them.

This is also an inevitable result of large scale hatchery programs...a bunch of sportfishers were very gung-ho about broodstock programs on the Chehalis system to produce large numbers of "mostly wild" steelhead, with clipped fins, to go out and fish for in March and April.

I warned that that this will have some unintended consequences that they will be very, very unhappy with if it is as successful as they hope, but that warning fell on deaf ears...

After a few years the broodstock programs were returning pretty good numbers of high quality broodstock hatchery fish...good numbers, bigger and more aggressive fish, and the return was spread out over a few months rather than the usual hatchery runts that all return within about 60 hours of each other.

Along comes the Quinault Tribe, who has fishing rights there, and they want access to those fish now, in go the nets later and later in the year, and for longer fishing periods...and not only are the broodstock hatchery fish being harvested, but so are the true wild fish in the system, along with the very special run of late winter coho in the Chehalis system.

My warning turns out to be reality, and the broodstock programs have been discontinued.

It's a fairly regular problem among sportfishermen...they have a good grasp on what they want, but a fairly poor grasp of what the consequences of getting what they want might be.

In this case, really big hatchery runs can provide some excellent fishing experiences, but big runs of fish attract more than just big numbers of sportfishermen spending money hand over fist to get at 'em...

Fish on...

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