Well this is a newspaper article from the Aberdeen Daily World. A post a bit back I outlined the potential impacts on Rec & Commercial but really stayed away from the process utilized. This I think a reasonable interview but it pretty much reflects WDF&W's stance AFTER being outed. As to the points made by WDF&W staff I think many would and are being hotly contested by many with the Advocacy leading the charge. Here is their contact page. http://thfwa.org/contact-us So read and draw your own conclusions.

DFW proposes a test commercial fishery using fish traps in Willapa Bay
• Dan Hammock
• Wed Aug 2nd, 2017 7:00pm
• News

Fish traps, banned in Washington in 1934 for being so effective they were singled out as the major cause of salmon declines at the time, are now being eyed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and wild fish proponents as a tool to allow for commercial harvest of hatchery fish while decreasing the mortality of native salmon in Willapa Bay.

“We were thinking, what kind of alternative fishing method should we be thinking about with the commercials,” said Annette Hoffman, Region 6 fish program manager. “We sent out a reminder (to commercial fishing about getting their ideas) in December 2016, got a number of ideas and pursued all those that met the criteria, and only one person followed through with the process and that was the fish trap.”

A trap is designed to be just that; fish are funneled through a series of enclosures that get narrower until they are forced into a holding pen. The person monitoring the trap can then selectively pick out the fish meant to be targeted, usually hatchery fish, and safely release the other fish, in theory reducing the number of non-targeted fish injured or killed in the process. The department currently has an experimental fish trap on the lower Columbia River.

At first, the department considered filing for a research permit to test the trap, but soon found funding for that type of fishery couldn’t be identified. “So we went down the only other avenue we had, which was an emerging commercial fishing project, an experimental fishery with limited entries,” said Hoffman. So the department had to withdraw its application for a research permit and start the paperwork and public comment required to start an experimental fishery.

“At the time we were looking to keep all commercial gear in the commercial areas and during the commercial fishery,” said Hoffman. “Then at a (Fish and Wildlife) commission meeting we were given a presentation that a trap only works well if we put it in a place where the fish are moving at the time they are moving through there. That was outside the commercial season time frame.”

The public comment centered largely around the timing of the trap and the same arguments against the trap that led to its abolition more than 80 years ago.

“Through the public comment process we got a lot of input about the concern of the unlimited nature of this fishery, and we took that to heart,” said Hoffman. “We know it’s hard to regulate and manage unlimited fish traps.” There are other concerns as well. “A trap might not give us enough data. And we want to recruit Chinook. We know the trap recruits silvers, but can it work on Chinook?”
She said she also understands the concern of recreational anglers worried about the window of opportunity for the trap to be in use. For the trap to be effective for Chinook, it would have to be placed before the freshwater recreational salmon season. The thought of a fish trap in place before or during the recreational fishery has freshwater anglers concerned that it will stop the salmon from reaching the areas they fish.

The need to redefine the fishery as experimental and the withdrawal of the individual who initially had said he would take on the major effort and expense of installing the trap has pushed the project back.
“We followed the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) about the experimental fishery (RCW 77.65.410) and convened a board of advisers,” said Hoffman. “The RCW doesn’t talk about how many fish can be taken, just how many fishing permits can be issued for this experiment and what qualifications have to be met. The process is still underway.” She said she understood the concerns out there. Commercial fishermen are unhappy with the potential of a season that favors a fish trap over other methods, but Hoffman said timing is critical to determining the effectiveness of a trap. There has also been confusion over the placement of the trap. Will it be in fresh or saltwater? Hoffman said that decision has not been made. “I recognized that people are concerned that a fish trap will absorb everybody else’s fishery, but that’s not the intention at all,” she said. “The idea behind it is to help fisheries target the hatchery fish and minimize the impacts on wild fish.” Hoffman also said the trap proposal is not an attempt to replace other commercial fishing methods.

“We have no intention to have any type of alternative gear to take over. That is not what this is about.” Since federal regulators have placed a higher value on enhancing a more robust population of native salmon than adding to the overall population of salmon with hatchery fish, Hoffman said the trap is just one idea to help grow the number of native salmon while allowing sport and commercial anglers to harvest the hatchery fish.

“Initially all we are trying to do is figure out if this gear could be a useful tool in trying to manage for hatchery reform,” said Hoffman. “How the gear would be used going forward, how it would impact other fisheries has yet to be determined.” Hoffman added the importance of public input on the issue, saying she hopes to have “deeper, more thoughtful communication” with the various stakeholders. Meetings of stakeholders, the advisory group and a public comment forum were held in late July. For more information on the proposed trap, go towww.dfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/salmon/season_setting.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in