FYI, If this does not outrage you, I don't know what will, The Wild Steelhead Coalition just got a from RFA, notifying us that they had just heard that WDFW is asking NOAA Fisheries for an allowable ESA impact on Col. R. ESA Steelhead of 5-7%, up from last year's 2%.Please take the time to write and call the appropriate people.
Also taken from piscatorial pursuits:
OK guys, here's a post that Silver Hilton posted on I-fish. It's got a link so you can find your local pols, and a sample letter that you can copy and paste. Lets each spend 10 minutes making it happen.
posted 01-13-2004 07:22 PM
I sent the following note to my legislators today, and to several of my friends, asking them to do the same. We can still make some noise on this side of the border, should we choose.
I'd like to ask that you each write your state congressmen. I have taken the steps to make it easy. First, go here and figure out who your representative is http://www.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
Then, select the member and send them the following e-mail, or something similar.
See, easy! It will take you just minutes, and may help our fishing.
Clip below here.
I am writing to ask for your support in the area of the Columbia River Spring Salmon Fishery. In the next few weeks, Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife will be deciding how to allocate the catching of Columbia River Spring salmon between sport and commercial fishermen. While the run this year is expected to be fairly strong, the season will likely be restricted for the sport fishermen, due to impacts on wild salmon that run at the same time as the hatchery salmon. The catch is allocated between sport and commerical fishermen, based on their estimated impact to wild fish. Both groups must let wild fish go, but some percentage of the wild fish will die due to handling. The sport catch mortality rate on these released fish has historically been 10% or less, and sport fishermen may be required to use certain handling procedures that will reduce this catch further. The mortality on wild bycatch by gill netters using tangle nets is 18%. The wild fish are anticipated to be about 30% of the overall run. Neither group can avoid catching wild fish - fishing by either group impacts the wild fish. However, sports fishing is almost twice as efficient as commercial fishing in harvesting the hatchery salmon within the Endangered Species Act guidelines.
Currently, proposals are on the table to allocate the impacts between sport and commercial fishermen 50-50, or possibly 45% commercial, and 55% sport. I'd like you to persuade the Washington State personnel engaged in this decision, specifically, Dr. Jeff Koenings, Director, Washington Fish And Wildlife Commission, Bill Tweit, Columbia River Policy Lead and Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River Harvest Manager, to allow a greater percentage of this catch for sport fishers. Dr. Koenig is at 360 902 2947, Mr. Tweit is at 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia WA 98501 - (360) 902-2723. Ms. LeFleur is at 2108 Grand Boulevard, Vancouver 98661 - (360) 906-6708.
Based on past history, this impact will require the sport season to be restricted sometime in mid april, right at the peak of the run. This is disastrous for sport fishermen, as the weather is just getting nice and the fishing just getting good when the season will be restricted.
It makes sense to allocate the catch more to sports fishermen for several reasons:
1) There are simply vastly more sport fishermen. Tens of thousands of sports anglers will pursue these fish, while there are only about 200 commercial fishermen.
2) Sports angling is more efficient in harvesting the hatchery salmon, in terms of the impact on the wild fish that occurs in catching fish. By allowing commercial harvest, we are in effect wasting a certain number of hatchery salmon that could have been caught by the sport angler. These fish will go unharvested.
3) The sports fishermen contribute much more to the economy per fish caught and per fishing day than the commercial fishermen do. The economic impact of sportfishing for salmon dwarfs the commercial gain from gillnetting. The commercial harvest is currently estimated to bring about $1,800,000 into the economy. Sportsfishers, on the other hand, spend an average of $100 a day for fishing. On a busy saturday in April, there will be 2000 boats fishing for salmon, with 2 to 4 people fishing. That is an estimated revenue impact of $600,000 a day. Three days of sports fishing will equal the economic impact of the entire commercial season.
4) These fish are raised to be caught. There is a large group of people that would like opportunities to catch them. Shutting down the sport fishery, which will certainly happen unless the allocation is modified, will reduce the opportunity for many people to catch these fish.
5) Finally, the commercial fishermen have been resistant to improving their catch methods to reduce mortality in the wild fish bycatch. Giving them 50% of the wild fish kill quota rewards them for not improving their catch methods and recovery tank usage.
We realize that the commercial fishermen feel vested in the fishery, and have a traditional stake there. However, in these days of declining resources, adjustments need to be made, and it is time to allow the sports fisher more access to this resource.
Please contact the state personnel shown, and ask them to weight the sport fishery more heavily in the catch allocation. We ask for a 70% Sport, 30% Commercial allocation.