CCA on Willapa Management Plan.

Coastal Conservation Association


Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission 600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Dear Commissioners:

We have been following the Department’s efforts to develop a new Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy with great interest. We commend the Commission and WDFW staff for initiating this important effort and for the high quality information you provide to the public about the economics, harvest sharing, and conservation of wild populations in the Willapa Bay system. The Hatchery Scientific Review Group (HSRG) gave an impactful presentation on All H modeling (AHA) at the recent Commission meeting and we look forward to reviewing the results of AHA for the Willapa.

We write to urge the Commission to utilize the results of the pending AHA modeling as well as the economic information it has received on Willapa fisheries. We expect that these vital scientific and economic findings will inform the Commission as to the full extent of appropriate fishery reforms needed to improve fishery outcomes in the Willapa. These findings may even support changes beyond those already proposed, including the “aspirational goals” identified at the outset of this process.

The Willapa Bay salmon fishery, unlike nearly every other in Washington, is not affected by the complications of tribal co-management, Endangered Species Act listings, or a bi-state compact. This provides the Commission a unique opportunity to develop a plan that aggressively seeks to meet the conservation goals set out in your Hatchery and Harvest Reform Policy (C-3619). The Commission also has a clear path to begin optimizing the economic benefits and agency revenues these Willapa fisheries provide to the people and to Washington State.

We support your primary commitment to the conservation of wild salmon populations in Willapa Bay. For many years there controversy and concern have clouded the management of these populations. The AHA results could provide key insights into opportunities for reducing impacts on wild populations, which might actually justify maintaining if not increasing hatchery production.

The economic analysis provided by staff regarding Willapa Bay fisheries is an important step in changing how WDFW approaches fisheries management, and it also provides important information that should be utilized in developing policy to set future seasons and allocations. Many members of the public were surprised to learn that despite harvesting only approximately 10% of returning salmon, the recreational fishery generates 50% more economic benefit than commercial fisheries that take the other 90% of the harvest. These lopsided economics deserve your careful evaluation together with the AHA findings before developing any further criteria or allocations. You might consider requesting staff to provide an economic evaluation for each proposed option for both fishery and hatchery management. These evaluations could then become central in the development process for the new Willapa Bay Management Policy.

Thank you again for your service and commitment to the conservation of our fisheries.

Nello Picinich, Executive Director CCA Washington

Edited by Rivrguy (01/05/15 03:03 PM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in