Unfortunately, I got no takers on my invitation for questions.
Here's a year-by-year summary of what I was prepared to present if they had taken any interest in digging deeper. Just wasn't meant to be.
How badly do the managers underestimate that fishing power? Let me give some recent examples from each component of the fishery.
In 2005 managers set a 10% impact objective of 1100 dead paper kings for the entire basin. Gillnets alone actually killed 2600 of the free-swimming variety…. most of them at the hands of the QIN.
In 2006 Region 6 set a rec season to harvest 215 paper kings in MA 2-2. We killed 5 times that many (1065).
In 2007 Region 6 set a rec season to harvest 1168 paper kings. We killed 1719.
In 2008 (with no harvestable Chinook, no harvestable chum, and only a Tier 2 coho forecast), a NT gillnet season was set to target Chehalis coho despite specific language stating “no directed commercial coho fishery”. With a NT share of only 3800 wild coho and -400 kings, the NT nets killed over 5200 wild coho AND 150 incidental kings were discarded as bycatch.
The harvest abuses and intentional deviations from the Tier Plan came to a head in 2009. At long last, WDFW finally demonstrated restraint and stewardship when Director Anderson and Pat Patillo settled a NOF stalemate in Montesano by leaving 150 paper kings on the allocation table to reach the gravel. For the first time in my decade-long involvement in this process, the state’s conservation objectives were met for all three species of Chehalis fall salmon (Chinook, coho, and chum). If that was the direct result of Commission intervention, then I owe you my sincere thanks.
2010 and 2011 saw poor Chinook returns that should have compelled Region 6 to manage with a precautionary approach but progressively more gillnet days were added to exceed the planned pre-season impacts.
2012 saw a harvestable Chinook run-size and it was back to business as usual…. with a full court press to maximize the harvest of paper fish while shirking the conservation of REAL fish.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." (Zane Grey)
"If you don't kill them, they will spawn." (Carcassman)