Nice cheerleading doc. WDFW needs all the help they can get these days.
I'd hardly call it cheerleading, just trying to lay the choices out into a better sense of perspective for those on the outside looking in.
The big problem with the switch from Naselle to Willapa is that the habitat does not support the decision. The commercial fishery gauntlet is beside the point. Can't manufacture NOR fish if the habitat isn't up to the task.
A bit of history is in order here.
The habitat doesn't support much in the way of natural chinook production no matter which stream is chosen for the primary. Among the three hatchery rivers, the least suitable for producing natural kings in any significant numbers is Nemah. The other two are pretty much neck and neck. Enough so that in the first attempt at HSRG reform back in 2009, we were considering TWO primary streams.... both Willapa AND Naselle.
When the final decision was made, the commercial fishery gauntlet WAS in fact the point, the whole point, and nothing but the point.
The commercials did NOT want to lose access to 2T and they lobbied hard AGAINST a Willapa primary. They overwhelmingly supported Naselle as primary.... along with meat-market production at Forks Creek to maintain their reign on 2T. That really worked out to their benefit.
While in the past, the entire Bay was managed for 30% exploitation, now only Naselle would be managed to a 30% impact, while the rest of the basin was a free-for-all NET-FEST! They typically took 15-20K kings during the period of Naselle primary @ 30%. Their mean king harvest DOUBLED under that paradigm. By 2014, baywide impact had risen to 57%.... 51% comm and 6% rec, a nearly 90:10 split on wild impacts!
And of course, natural escapement was in the toilet.
We have a Wild Fish Policy in this state.... and despite past blunders, the agency's PRIMARY mission is to preserve protect and perpetuate the resource. Secondary to that mission is the goal of providing/enhancing viable fisheries.... but only to the extent that they DO NOT HARM the resource.
Bottom line, we need to reign in the gross over harvest of wild chinook that can't even meet bare bones escapement goals. It's the only way the wild fish have a chance at recovery. We are also compelled to follow HSRG guidelines in hatchery/harvest reform to reduce the number of hatchery origin spawners (pHOS) on the gravel by optimizing the size of the hatchery programs commensurate with our ability to selectively remove the hatchery product in our fisheries. There's only two mechanisms to reduce pHOS .... we either selectively HARVEST MORE or we judiciously PRODUCE LESS to begin with.
The heavy hitters in the harvest arena REFUSE to come along in the state's quest to transition to a more selective fishery. Their defeatist attitude WILL spell their impending doom. Instead of seeking better ways to selectively leverage limited NOR impacts into many multiples of dead fish in the box, they cling to the anachronism of non-selective gillnetting.... irresponsibly burning that impact at a ridiculous rate that takes them off the water that much sooner.
So like it or not, the newest Policy passed in 2015.... warts and all... is currently our best shot at correcting the hatchery/harvest abuses that have plagued wild chinook in this basin for over a century. (FYI.... Forks Cr hatchery was built in 1899)
BTW, Do you know anyone that's caught a chinook south of the goose/ledbetter point line in the salt?
Nope.... but mebbe this should be THE year for the ye/eF collaboration to gitter'dun. You in?
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." (Zane Grey)
"If you don't kill them, they will spawn." (Carcassman)