Now this is interesting on several levels but is about Willapa alternate gear commercial. Now read this from the bottom up as it is a e mail thread and I removed the e mail addresses as they number pushing a hundred and not nice to throw out. Be nice if staff got BCC down but oh well.

Thanks for your comments. However, with respect, NOAA is federal and the Department is acting under authorization of a state statute. Then, a special new license must be issued for an emergence fishery and the current commercial gillnet license in Willapa Bay/Columbia is not valid or applicable in an emergence fisheries.

Also, you'll see that the RCW you quote says a license has to issued in accordance with another Chapter RCW 77.65.400. Here it is and look to the emphasis I added where it says such an emergence fishery can not be used in any area where there is a limitation on commercial licenses which is exactly what is the case in Willapa.

Chapter RCW 77.65.400
(1) The director may by rule designate a fishery as an emerging commercial fishery. The director shall include in the designation whether the fishery is one that requires a vessel.
(2) "Emerging commercial fishery" means the commercial taking of a newly classified species of food fish or shellfish, the commercial taking of a classified species with gear not previously used for that species, or the commercial taking of a classified species in an area from which that species has not previously been commercially taken. Any species of food fish or shellfish commercially harvested in Washington state as of June 7, 1990, may be designated as a species in an emerging commercial fishery, except that no fishery subject to a license limitation program in chapter 77.70 RCW may be designated as an emerging commercial fishery.
(3) A person shall not take food fish or shellfish in a fishery designated as an emerging commercial fishery without an emerging commercial fishery license and a permit from the director. The director shall issue two types of permits to accompany emerging commercial fishery licenses: Trial fishery permits and experimental fishery permits. Trial fishery permits are governed by subsection (4) of this section. Experimental fishery permits are governed by RCW 77.70.160.
(4) The director shall issue trial fishery permits for a fishery designated as an emerging commercial fishery unless the director determines there is a need to limit the number of participants under RCW 77.70.160. A person who meets the qualifications of RCW 77.65.040 may hold a trial fishery permit. The holder of a trial fishery permit shall comply with the terms of the permit. Trial fishery permits are not transferable from the permit holder to any other person.

In other words, if it is limited to just commercial license holders in an area where licenses are limited, it can't be done at all. I'm not sure exactly where the Dept is headed as the last two routes they took were obviously contrary to state statute. That's why they are "rebooting" which was my recommendation during the public meetings.

Then, state statue sets out the Commission as the party in charge and it has adopted a Willapa Policy which states: Purpose: The objective of this policy is to achieve the conservation and restoration of wild salmon in Willapa Bay and avoid ESA designation of any salmon species. Where consistent with this conservation objective, the policy also seeks to maintain or enhance the economic well-being and stability of the commercial and recreational fishing industry in the state. You'll notice that industry is singular. Doesn't say rec and commercial industries which would be required to consider each one separately. A single fish industry comprised of a rec and comm sectors are common and consistent throughout state statutes.

Also, I'd point out that the Wild Fish Conservatory, which is a nonprofit same as the Advocacy, has been conducting a experimental trap program in the Columbia River since 2016.


Tim Hamilton

On 6/13/17 4:45 PM, Chris Philips wrote:
With respect, NOAA Fisheries defines “fishing industry” as commercial, and the RCW mentioned below is directed at the commercial fishery.

Those involved in the experimental fishery should be exclusively commercial fishermen, as directed by statute.


Chris Philips
Managing Editor

Fishermen's News
2201 West Commodore Way
Seattle, WA 98199

From: Tim Hamilton <>

Subject: Re: Alternative Gear Update

Annette- Thanks for the update.

I have read your commentary shown below and do not find it changes the email I sent in earlier requesting the Advocacy be considered an interested party eligible for participation in applying for a permit. If the Department feels it can deny the Advocacy participation, please inform me and cite the statutory language that the Dept would rely upon to deny our participation.

Also, you reference that an advisory board will be appointed under RCW 77.70.160 selected from "the effected industry....." The statute actually says "the director shall appoint a five-person advisory board representative of the affected fishery industry." Fishing industry is an inclusive term identifying all those involved in fishing, including the recreational sector which could end up the most effected by a trap, especially one located in fresh water where current commercial license holders are forbid from fishing under a current commercial license. Therefore, the Advocacy strongly advises the Dept not appoint exclusively from the commercial license holders so the advisory group is reflective of fishing industry not just one sector.


Tim Hamilton
Twin Harbor Fish & Wildlife Advocacy

On 6/13/17 1:45 PM, Hoffmann, Annette (DFW) wrote:
Hello All,

I want to thank everyone for all their input on the alternative gear considerations and provide you an update on where we are at in the process.

The Department has been pursuing the “implementation of additional mark-selective commercial fishing gear to enhance conservation and provide harvest opportunities” consistent with the guidance of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management policy (C-3622). Our specific objective for 2017 has been to determine if trap gear can effectively catch Chinook salmon with minimal immediate mortality to unmarked fish. In pursuit of that objective, the Department solicited public input on conducting a trial commercial fishery in Willapa Bay using fish trap gear upriver of the standard commercial fishing areas during timeframes of expected Chinook migration. Public comment was received through a series of stakeholder, advisor and public meetings. The comments resulted in mixed support for the concept of a trial fishery, with concerns raised over the unlimited entry associated with a trial fishery (RCW 77.65.400), the proposed testing of the gear throughout the entire return period of Chinook at locations upstream of the commercial fishing area boundary, and the ability of interested parties to participate given the amount of resources needed to build a fish trap. These informative public comments have resulted in a decision by the Department to pursue our 2017 objectives through an experimental fishery rather than a trial fishery, although maintaining the time/area considerations necessary to answer the key question. An experimental fishery uses an advisory board from the affected industry to set boundaries around the number and qualifications of participants (RCW 77.70.160) and will entail the use of special permit issued by the Director to ensure that the fishery is conducted in a controlled and scientifically defensible manner.

We will be rescinding the current CR101 for the trial fishery, filing a new CR101 for an experimental fishery, and convening the advisory board. We expect to be able to provide more details as they become available.

Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in