The Grays Harbor Management Plan ( GHMP ) redo is getting closer and it looks promising, maybe. That said it is not a done deal until "the fat lady sings" so to speak and everyone needs to stay involved. I imagine all have read or listened to that spiel a hundred times before but it is true. Then comes the question on just how can WDF&W manage the Salmon resource in a manner that simply discriminates and denies harvest opportunity to the inland communities and recreational fishers in general?

At first look one might think this is something new but it is not. It is simply the manner that terminal harvest impacts (inside Grays Harbor & rivers that empty into it ) have always been allocated. That WDF&W has always viewed the recreational fisher differently than commercial fishers is absolutely true but finding way to allow the average citizen to grasp how deeply ingrained in WDF&W this philosophy is can be a bit difficult.

So after going through the FTC library I will use the two paragraphs below which are taken directly from a opinion by then Washington State Attorney General Slade Gorton to then WDF Director Don Moos in 1975 which addressed the commercial buy backs. While the entire document is only somewhat relevant today it is one of the few times I have found the management philosophy of WDF&W clearly defined by a impartial 3rd party. So take a look at the highlighted sentences defining the intent of the recreational and commercial management by WDF&W.

Basically, the sports fisheries are managed so as to allow large numbers of fishermen each to take a limited number of fish. Lawful gear for angling is defined in RCW 75.04.100 as one pole, held in hand, to which not more than two single hooks may be attached. Under WAC 220-56-063 and 220-56-066, most rivers, streams and ocean areas are open to angling. Spawning areas and areas below dams and racks are closed to angling, and other areas can and have been closed when such closures were necessary for proper
escapement. Possession and bag limits for angling vary for different areas. For the coastal fishery the limit is three salmon of not less than 20 inches in length, as provided for in WAC 220-56-013. No license is required for angling, but [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] sports catches must be recorded upon salmon punch cards which are returned to the department of fisheries. See, WAC 220-56-023. Fish taken by angling are for personal use only and may not be sold commercially.

On the other hand, the commercial fisheries are managed to allow for proper escapement and maximum commercial take. The legislature has established license requirements for all segments of the commercial fishery, and has defined lawful gear under the various licenses. See, chapter 75.28 RCW. Areas open to commercial fishing are set by statute (chapter 75.18 RCW) and permanent regulations (WAC 220-47-010 through 220-47-070) promulgated thereunder. Data for the commercial fisheries is collected continuously by the department of fisheries, and additional closures and regulations are frequently made by emergency regulation to preserve necessary escapement as mandated by fishery data and recommendations of the international salmon fishery commission.

Boiled down to the very basic issues the GHMP redo is not just about what is fair for all citizens but changing the historical bias ingrained within WDF&W. No small chore to be sure and it will not happen unless we all stay involved. The progress made in the past few months is not due to FTC or any single person or group but rather because the inland communities & recreational fishers did not just object but went with " oh hell no we are NOT doing that again. "

So stay involved folks and attend the Commission meeting Meeting Link A close friend of mine said " it ain't no time to go to sleep at the wheel" and I think he captured where we are!
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in