Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
and anthers thoughts.
Saw XXXXX note on how sports just lost few Chinook impacts left in GH. Bottom line seems to be that after WA waters ocean harvest by commercial trollers, charter boats, etc. , there are only impacts left for tribes. This is a bay where FD (Fish Department) is managing for true escapement/conservation now. Nothing left for sports there.
This reminds me of the analogy I have been visualizing between tribes in GH and the threat of commercial traps in Willapa. As we know, the North Willapa Bay and river sport fishery is about to get its lump of coal when HORs quit coming back in a year or two. This leaves south bay and the looming gold rush for HORs in the south. This rush which I call a search for The Golden Fleece, is under a full court press from some soon to be ex Chinook netters and the FD. It is taking the form of a sudden yearning for conservation, as commercial traps in our fresh water. These would need enough fish to "pay their own way" plus profit after being bartered the fish by the government. As I have envisioned, this approach would have little or no room for recreational fishers in the bay or fresh water. Bay fishers would have to back off to let HORs through to pay WDFW and trappers bills plus profit. In effect Willapa's lack of tribal preemption can be replaced with trapper preemption. We now have less than escapement crossing our bar. We are headed for a 14% mortality rate in two years per our tattered policy. This was calculated to recover true NOS in twenty or so years. There is no room for both netting and sport fishing under this scenario. Enter the real world of ocean conditions which are far worse than the policy calcs assumed. 14% will be too much. If our Director and commercial only advisors install commercial traps which must pay their own way with recreational priority fish, there can be only enough left for our new tribes, in the form of commercial trappers. I will call them CTs. Tribes and commercials get much of our fish in the WA ocean, along with charters and sport boats. A way to bend the escapement curve and keep commercials on Chinook is to give them all impacts left under the guise of conservation and FD poor mouthing about budget. At the same time, as this year, with CT"testing" replacing effective weirs FD refuses to install or even repair before imminent failure, FD can plant huge amounts of HORs, now needed of course to feed CTs and itself. This is The Golden Fleece, because sports will continue to pay lion's share of harvester bills, just like now, and lose their priority while doing it. Sports would get fleeced worse than now, traps allocated in number and location by Director and his All CT team. Sports get to whine and argue about rules after the fact, just like now. Like sheep we get fleeced once per year. We would be standing between FD budget and CT profit and our Chinook. Bad place to be. This is the result of years of FD led meetings where we only argue about how much of sport priority goes to commercial each year. Commercial priority is just in their bag and not up for reallocation. It could soon approximate the situation in GH where there is now effectively no sport fishery for Chinook. CTs become our tribes, get whatever it takes to fund WDFW and commercial industry ex vessel value set behind closed doors. In below nominal ocean conditions, this CT share of returnees is now about to become well over half. Previously underfunded enforcement will flock to river banks to guard traps. All paid for by selling sportfisher wool.
Since Willapa Policy was adopted by the Commission, set asides for conservation have been openly ignored, along with requirements for payback for overharvest. Should we get CTs, and set asides for sports, what reason have we to believe our set asides would be honored any more than than they have already?
Fish traps have no place in our sport fishing holes, and FD has no business putting CTs on our backs. Two of the best surviving riverine sport fisheries in the state, Nemah for Chinook, and Naselle for Coho, are on the block. The best small boat sport fishery, North Bay and Willapa River, has its die cast and is gone in two years.
All should be aware, and all should speak up. It will be up to the Director of WDFW, the Commission, or our Governor and legislature to stop this Golden Fleecing. There is a simple solution. Honor the one recreational priority we the sheep have in Willapa, Coastal Fall Chinook. These bodies must have the will to honor our one recreational priority in Willapa. The Fish Department does not.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in