This is heads up time as the NOF process gets closer and folks have asked just where are we? Well that is a good question so at this moment here is my take on things.

So the good first.

1. The Commission policies adopted will get three net free days a week. ( hopefully as the QIN can choose to fish more than 4 days )

2. The legal action challenging the 2013 settlement required WDF&W to get real numbers in the model for the Non Treaty Nets so that should, could , may, be done.

3. The APA process that creates the WAC's for harvest will meet legal requirements. Again this comes from the out of court settlement and WDF&W did not address this issue on their own.

Now the bad

1. We will be in 3/5 on the Chehalis for Chinook and the same for Humptulips Coho. 3/5 is if you miss escapement 3 out of 5 years harvest is limited to 5% release mortality only on that stock / speices.

2. WDF&W will continue to have corrupted commercial release data entered into the model as the District 17 staffer whose numbers were pure fantasy is still around and no change here.

3. It has been said the model is accurate to plus or minus 200% at any point such as week in the harvest model. In other words it is dart board time once again and nobody knows where this is going. Considering the fact that if escapement is not made the fish and citizens will pay the piper and WDF&W staff will still get paid and go merrily down the road one should not expect earth shattering change here either.

4. Despite the appearance of public involvement it is pretty much behind closed doors at this minute. WDF&W is working with the lawsuit settlement folks but after that nah, pretty much looks the usual dog & pony show is headed your way. If not for the information I and other citizens made available to the public just about zip has come from WDF&W and unless we see a dramatic change in direction the average citizen will have little input into this fall's salmon seasons.

5. The Humptulips Natural Origin Recruits Coho ( spawning adults ) have not made escapement since 1987 and something has to give. Just what is going to happen? I have no idea but this is a real issue.

6. Will the QIN seasons be in the model as the state seasons are set? Yes the Commission said but ( ah yeah the but thing again ) they did not say it had to be in the model when NOF goes forward so where the QIN season shows up is a real question. Which means those who feel strongly about conservation are not going to have any ability gauge the total season impacts until WDF&W files the CR 102 ( legally setting the season WAC ). Now the law permits you to comment on the legal record then but that is about it. Which means unless you get on the legal record with the intention of hiring a attorney and heading off to court ( take your check book with you ) then your pretty much being shoved to the curb.

7. The issue of the QIN exercising their treaty rights to 50% of the harvestable adults to Grays Harbor as a whole vs the Commission's and WDF&W's desire to manage the Humptulips and Chehalis Basin's separately has not been resolved. If you think back to the 2013 seasons WDF&W had the QIN proposals around April 4th but refused to place them in the model for the public to see until the QIN made their seasons public much later. Heavens folks I dropped the days in the model and made it public before the agency reluctantly did so. Oh almost forgot with the QIN seasons put in the 2013 model it hit minus 1200 for Chinook escapement on the Chehalis which in plain English means WDF&W knew full well when they established the states seasons ( both commercial & rec ) on paper in the model that the Chehalis Chinook would not make escapement. Now the new Commission policy guidelines say you will make escapement so choose your poison as to the notion that Region 6 District 17 staff ah ................... has joyfully endorsed this concept?

All that said I will still urge any who can to attend this coming Fridays Adviser meeting. Why? Well it has been a citizen effort that brought the potential for change in Grays Harbor fisheries by going to the Commission. The Commission agreed and put in place new guidelines. ( thank you Commissioners ) Assistant Director Fish Program Jim Scott has put a lot of effort in Grays Harbor as has the new Region 6 Fish Program Manager Steve Thiesfeld but that does not mean it has been with any transparency at all. I think this partly due the very tight timeline that the APA process allowed then you have the one constant factor that is always around WDF&W. They really do not care for the public rummaging around ( let alone participate ) the decision making process.

So participate in the process the best you can but do it with eyes wide open knowing that much has changed at the Commission level but that does not necessarily mean that Region 6 or District 17 staff mindset has.

So here are the upcoming dates.

Grays Harbor Advisors (public comment at end)
March 14th 6 pm to 9 pm Montesano DFW Office APA Process Review Forecast
Management Objectives Policy Implementation Fishery suggestions Public Comment

Grays Harbor NOF Public Workshop #1
(APA record testimony to immediately follow)
March 19th 6 pm to 8 pm Montesano City Hall
APA Process Review Forecast
Management Objectives Policy Implementation Fishery suggestions

Grays Harbor Testimony For APA record
March 19th 8 pm to 9 pm Montesano City Hall Individuals will be provided up to 3 minutes to go on the record relative to Grays Harbor Rule Making (Fishery Seasons Development)

Edited by Rivrguy (03/12/14 06:03 PM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in