As one can see in the e mail below nothing on Willapa Monday ( tonight ) evening and I am sure as soon as Steve has things lined out he will let all know.

We will not be meeting tomorrow, Monday. I canít say for sure on Tuesday at this point. Iím sorry we donít have a better timeline set for everyone.

Steve Thiesfeld


So what are the issues that all will attempt to get their arms around? Well in a nut shell we have a North / South & long term / short term issues bumping into each other all over the place. N / S is all about stocks and facilities. Forks Creek Hatchery it is Chinook and the fact that does not have a weir that will stop the straying and about 20% of the returning adults stray. It is around 3 to 1 hatchery over wild in the gravel so the question is should one even produce Chinook at the facility. Coho seem to tend to return to the hatchery so Coho straying is not a issue. Add North River which is about the last stream with much of the natural order and needs protection and you have a thorny one to be sure.

In the South at Naselle the Chinook straying is even worse sometimes reaching 6.5 to 1 hatchery origin over wild spawning in the gravel. The weir is pulled around October 15 dependant on flows so again the issue of even producing Chinook at the facility is questionable. Add the fact that with the weir out Coho can run a muck it gets totally weird and again the question is should one produce Coho at the Naselle Hatchery. The Nemah does not have these issues.

Now long term it is what stream will be primary which requires a lower straying rate. Somehow production within the three facilities must be aligned to HSRG standards and what that will be is not known by anyone outside the agency.

Short term? WDF&W has used the commercial gillnets to harvest returning Chinook down to a level that does not totally overrun the natural spawners. Now by doing this they also pretty much nearly wipe out the natural origin fish. So for the next four years regardless of what the long term picture is just how do you achieve the removal of the hatchery adults without wiping out the natural run? Good question and this should be a bitch to deal with. Add to the mix is since the implementation of the current management plan which was never approved by the Commission but utilized as a draft, natural spawners took a dive right into the dumpster. So for the next four years Willapa will see even less natural origin adults and it could get really ugly even for Rec fishers. Oh by the way the Rec fishers did not create this problem but are certainly going shoulder a share of the burden. Interesting how that works.

So just how serous is the situation in Willapa? To say in the toilet is being kind and any solution is going to be painful. To get a picture of just what may happen one can look to the past four years. The harvest model operated on a 30% exploitation rate on the Naselle Chinook natural origin adults. Those who back mathed the years have identified the actual exploitation rate was running around 40% to 50%. T o bring the harvest model inline with reality it would have required a reduction from 30% to somewhere around 10% or 2/3 reduction in harvest of Chinook. Now the BUT, if you do that the hatchery straying overruns the gravel!

There are no easy answers to the problems in Willapa only pain for all.
_________________________
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in