As a Adviser I had intended to stay in process through this years NOF while placing my objections to staff. After the reports I received on yesterdays Commission meeting I changed my mind.

Memo: Mr. Chad Herring

I am writing to formally protest as a GH Adviser the failure of Region 6 staff to comply with the Grays Harbor Management Policy. Before I address that issue I feel obligated to say that from the Chehalis Jack fishing rules to Humptulips area C staff has done an outstanding job of research and monitoring these and other issues has tried to treat all fairly with this one glaring exception, which I will address.

The GHMP Item 7 of the guiding principles states: In a manner consistent with conservation objectives, fishing opportunities will be fairly distributed across fishing areas and reflect the diverse interests of WDFW- managed fishers. The failure to address this issue exist in the marine fisheries in the bay area of Grays Harbor has and appears to be continuing this year. Grays Harbor marine areas is basically two distinctly different fisheries which are the South channel known as Johns River and North channel. For whatever reasons Chinook travel and hold in the South channel / Johns River and Coho travel the North channel. Due to the 3/5 provision of the GHMP state fisheries are limited to a 5% Chinook impact utilizing catch and release. Each year the bay fisheries are limited to the period of time it takes for the Johns River Chinook catch and release fisheries to reach the limits imposed by the GHMP. This results in the loss of Coho harvest opportunity in the North channel which has few Chinook impacts as WDFW refuses to recognize the Grays Harbor Bay area is made up of two distinctly different fisheries and users who participate.

The North channel from the 101 bridge passes the Port of Grays Harbor to the area adjacent to Bowerman airport is a mom and pop small boat fisheries utilized primarily by local citizens and is clearly a targeted Coho fishery with few Chinook impacts. The South channel fishery is primarily a large boat fishery Chinook C&R fishery dominated by people of means and fishers from outside the local community. Each year the entire bay fishery is governed by the amount of time it takes the fishers in the South channel to utilize the allowable marine Chinook impacts dictated by the GHMP with few Coho impacts.

One could argue endlessly the duplistic nature of calling a C&R Chinook fishery in the South channel a targeted Coho fishery but for myself that is not the issue. It is the fact that if both the fishers in the North channel & Johns River / South channel were treated fairly and staff complied with item 7 that the North channel would be available for recreational fishers from August through November dependent upon Coho abundance. Simply put a Chinook C&R fishery in the South Channel under the guise of a targeted Coho fishery should not be allowed to utilize nearly all the Chinook impacts and deny a true targeted Coho fishery a full season. This violates Item 7 guiding principles, is absolutely discriminatory toward citizens of less financial means, and the local fishers. It would be a rather simple exercise to define the North channel that fishers would easily distinguished for the average citizen.

As this is not my first rodeo Mr. Herring I recognize your limitations to address this issue and as this is the case I will seek to bring both Mr. Warren and the Director Kelly Susewind into this conversation. The violation of Item 7 of the GHMP and the discriminatory practices resulting from these actions are totally unacceptable. Any attempt by agency staff seeking to not comply by endlessly throwing real or imaginary road blocks as the agency has done for many years on Wynoochee Mitigation is unacceptable.

In closing let me be crystal clear. The violation of Item 7 in the Grays Harbor marine fisheries and the resulting discrimination toward fishers of less means and of local origin must end immediately. It was my intent to address this issue at the Commission GHMP review but that was unfortunately cancelled. Due to time limitations at the last GH Adviser meeting a full vetting of the issue was not made available which resulted in no other option than lodging this formal protest of the violation of Item 7 of the GHMP.


CC: Director Kelly Susewind
Mr. Ron Warren
Mr. Mike Scharpf
MS Kim Figlar-Barnes
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in