Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
Couple of things going on. First in Willapa those fishing might have noticed crab pots abandoned in a rather bad location. So here is a bit from a citizen bringing it to R6's attention and the response.
To Region-6: Steve- I have been getting calls from guys who have fished the Willapa today. We apparently have a crabber down there who decided to protest in some fashion by placing what are being described as 8-10 commercial pots out in a line near Marker 2 that is a favorite trolling line for recs fishing for Chinooks. I advised the callers to leave the pots alone and I'd contact WDFW. I use the word "protest" as commercial and rec crabbing has been closed nearly all year down there including the latest emergency reg filed on August 5 that closed the entire coast and the bays from the Columbia River up to the Queets on the N. Coast. The closure leaves me with the only rationale I can come up is some sort of protest aimed at rec fishing in the Willapa.
With the closures, I don't see any way that these pots could be in the water legally. I'd ask that enforcement be notified immediately so they can address the problem and I be informed of the approximate time and the date of enforcement's arrival and a description of any actions taken by the Department.
And The Response: We have been working to try and get the pots out of there for over a week. The Pots are stuck and we do not have the ability to pump them out. The Sergeant has been in contact with the owner who is making arrangements to remove them. I understand from the Sergeant that the owner said today or tomorrow he should have them out. We have looked into the report that this is a commercial/rec issue and feel it is just a commercial fisherman who has not made the effort to go out and pump his gear. If you have any other questions feel free to call me. Thank you.
Followed by: Thank you. As a supplement to this conversation, I was contacted today by several locals who claim they've reported abandoned pots to Region 6 enforcement not only in this location but others in the Bay as well.
They were very upset with the reaction they had been receiving from a local enforcement officer and claimed he stated it wasn't the Department's problem if boating accidents, etc. occurred due to abandoned commercial pots as it was the public's duty to avoid dangerous situations while on the water. Not happy campers comes to mind. Naturally, all is second hand. For what it is worth.......
On The Chehalis: Meanwhile on the Chehalis e have had two press releases on closures to ALL fishing the Black & Newaukum. Both are to protect Spring Chinook due to low flows. Are the full closures justified? No idea but remember the Chehalis is rain fed so dry years are normal but maybe R-6 has information not available to all so I will ask for the documentation utilized. I think or we feel will not fly. If harm is being done what is the numerical value of dead fish? 1? 5? 20? Just how many fish have been impacted is not just important but critical in the thought process. That has been the problem with R-6 for years. No data no nothing just off we go. The best example is when in the recent past they shut the bay fishery down due to concerns of over harvest by the Rec fleet. Documents obtained in a PDR showed staff had zero idea on how many fish had been caught but they counted boat trailers. So more to come I am sure.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in