Just a reminder, the deadline for submitting comments to the fish and wildlife commission is Jan. 31, following is the page I sent in, just a quick note saying how you feel about certain points in the report is all that is needed, public support for closing comm. gillnet fishing was really strong, following up with an equally strong amount of submitted comments is also vital. Commissioners, my name is Robert Rao and I live in Elma. I have spoken before you twice in the last two months and have attended numerous Gray’s Harbor Salmon Management meetings. I appreciate the hours you have put in on this subject hearing many points from the public and the W.D.F.W. staff. My points are as follows;
The last lines of the general policy statement “In implementing the policy guidelines, the Department will work with the tribes in a manner that is consistent with U.S. v. Washington and other applicable state and federal laws and agreements “ I believe the state has an obligation legally and morally to defend the 50% percent rights of the citizens of the state by being proactive in monitoring tribal catches throughout the state, not just in Gray’s Harbor. A quicker and more reliable catch record system is needed. I also believe that closing area 2A in the Chehalis River if not this year but next year would have two important results. Public testimony by non-native commercial fishermen to this issue has stated that the tribe WILL NOT fish that area on the same days as commercial gillnetters. This means that a 4 days in and 3 days out will not be considered by the tribe in this area which means ALL of Gray’s Harbor will not have 4 days in and 3 days out by all gillnetters. The river is also very narrow in this area and numerous gillnets will defeat recovery actions taken. This also will be a negotiation point when dealing with the Quinalt tribe as it will show them that the state is serious about recovery efforts and is willing to compromise. There should be a total ban on commercial. gillnets in areas designated as freshwater to remain consistent with policies adopted for the Columbia River and Puget Sound. I believe the residents of our state have overwhelmingly shown their support for this direction as demonstrated in the sheer volume of public testimony shown.
I also feel that more input to the Pacific Salmon Commission is needed as to the serious state of the runs in Gray’s Harbor. If a more valid scientific study is needed instead of current means of measuring run size then those studies should be implemented
.Alaska harvests of our fish are esp. damaging, the state of Alaska stocks should be an example of how NOT to manage a resource.
My third point concerns the language for the 4 days in and 3 days out. The language allows for changing the intent of 4 days in and 3 days out by saying “when possible”. As I have pointed out above we understand the state cannot promise the tribes will fish that way but to insure transparency of the process we need to know that the 4 days in and 3 days out means just that when talking about non-tribal gill-netters. Otherwise people may feel that a last minute ”back door deal” may occur again.
My last point has to do with determining chum runs by lumping them all together in Gray’s Harbor. The scientific absurdity of this should be apparent to all. With these runs missing escapement as many years as they have (although we don’t have the data to show how really bad it is!) it is obvious that changes in scientific data collecting are needed. Thank you for reading and hearing our concerns.
Robert Rao

Edited by bob r (01/25/14 04:24 PM)
Edit Reason: Bad spelling!