And another citizens view of the issue.

Dear Commissioners and Director Unsworth:

I attended the Saturday February 27, 2016 meeting reviewing the Grays Harbor and Willapa Management Plans. The citizen input for the Grays Harbor Plan created some confusion around natural origin Chinook escapement goals and the 3/5 “penalty box”. My purpose is to try to address the confusion and highlight the real issue.

The discussion centered on the Chehalis natural origin Chinook escapement goal in 2010 which was 12,364 and the 2014 change to 9,880. These goals determine whether or not we made escapement in three of the past five years (known as the “penalty box”). Being in the penalty box eliminates direct harvest of Chinook regardless of harvestable numbers. This is not the issue. We failed to meet escapement in 2012, 2013, and 2014 under either of these escapement goals.

The real issues are that the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) manages by different rules and by acting in their own best interest they can keep the non tribal fishers in the penalty box forever! This unanticipated result could lead to destruction of the Management Plan that we all worked so hard to develop.

The QIN and WDFW agree on a run size and the harvestable number of fish available each season. The QIN is limited to half the harvestable number of total Chinook entering Grays Harbor. The WDFW rules consider natural origin and hatchery origin fish and also divide them between the Humptulips and the Chehalis rivers when considering escapement. The penalty box presently concerns the status of the Chehalis natural origin Chinook escapement. This is not a limitation for the QIN. It will be in their best interest to over harvest the Chehalis stock driving it to under escapement while still meeting all their harvest obligations. In addition there are no penalties if the QIN totally fail to meet any harvest criteria.

If this situation develops we will always be in the no direct Chinook harvest penalty box through no fault of WDFW management. The commission needs to prevent this penalty box condition from taking effect if it is due to actions by the QIN. If we have no way to escape the penalty box, the plan is unlikely to survive.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in