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#1012953 - 08/15/19 07:56 AM ESA Changes and Threatened PS Steelhead?
RUNnGUN Offline

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 929
Curious if anything will change with threatened Puget Sound Steelhead with these changes?
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 40 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in Puget Sound!"

#1012955 - 08/15/19 09:24 AM Re: ESA Changes and Threatened PS Steelhead? [Re: RUNnGUN]
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 3312
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope

ESA protections are something that changed how we as a people interacted with the natural order. Things like the Condor and Bald Eagle come to mind up front as real success stories. What most miss is the vast majority of the rules utilized are administrative decisions on how and what ESA requires. Fish have been one of the most difficult as the difference stream to stream are genetic differences. In other words each stream by DNA vs by a region. That the determination of endangered be for stream X vs a region such as PS as PS has healthy ( sorta ) Steelhead populations but some streams not so much.

Think of it this way. If you did DNA for every rabbit from BC to Mexico what would you find? Many species to be sure such as pigmy rabbits and others. I think you would also find that many sub sets exist in regions that are driven by environmental factors. In other words is a ordinary rabbit in the Olympics genetically the same as one in Pacific county? Cowlitz County? I imagine natural selection driven by environmental conditions would create variations not visible as a rabbit looks like a rabbit but local DNA variations are present.

So that has been the question where is the line to be ? Every sub set of a species ( for fish stream by stream lake by lake ) or the full range of the species ? The rub is with ESA both have huge social & economic impacts but managing for a genetic sub set of a fish species cost are massively greater.

The easy fixes have been used in changing logging, farming, water quality and many things. Now you are left with actions that will not just alter rural & water things but have a huge impact on urban areas and harvesters. It is easy to be a environmentalist when someone else foots the bill not so much when a citizen is told they must drastically alter how they live for a creature most have never seen.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in

#1012957 - 08/15/19 11:10 AM Re: ESA Changes and Threatened PS Steelhead? [Re: RUNnGUN]
Larry B Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2743
Loc: University Place and Whidbey I...
I came away from NOAA's Recreational Fishing Roundtable held recently in Seattle with a better perception of how they apply the ESA.

First, ESA listed Puget Sound rockfish. Initial listings were for Yelloweye, Canary and Bocaccio. Subsequent DNA testing established that P.S. Canary are indistinct from coastal Canary on a DNA level so they were delisted. So few Bocaccio were caught for DNA sampling that no conclusion could be reached as to DNA so they remain listed. Now for the Yelloweye; lots of fish caught and DNA samples taken and evaluated. Surprise, there are clusters of both P.S. genetics and coastal genetics within P.S. and in at least one area fish of both genetics co-mingle which takes us to the question of how far does one differentiate?

Now, for P.S. Chinook. After being presented data from old Dept. of Fisheries records which indicated tens if not hundreds of millions of hatchery Chinook have been transplanted out of basin over the years NOAA side-stepped the reality that there are currently no pure (by basin or river) stocks to protect/recover. What they did indicate was that their efforts under the ESA are to recover listed Puget Sound (the unique DPS) Chinook by establishing self-sustaining populations within some 25 river systems and allowing them to evolve genetically to become unique to each of those systems. That revelation took us to a discussion regarding mid Hood Canal Chinook and the failure to establish a viable "wild" (born in the gravel) stock using Skok hatchery fish and that failure's disproportionate impact on all of P.S. fisheries. It also raised the question of whether those small systems are really significant in attempts to recover P.S. Chinook within the DPS. There was an acknowledgement that that might be an issue worthy of further analysis.

So, back to the initial subject - how NOAA/NMFS works the ESA for two local listings. For P.S. rockfish it relies substantially on existing genetics whereas for Chinook it is to establish viable "wild" stocks that will evolve over time to each system's current/future conditions leading to a recovered "wild" population of P.S. Chinook.

But to be certain there are no genetically pure P.S. Chinook to protect and recover.
Remember to immediately record your catch or you may become the catch!

It's the person who has done nothing who is sure nothing can be done. (Ewing)

#1012959 - 08/15/19 11:13 AM Re: ESA Changes and Threatened PS Steelhead? [Re: RUNnGUN]
Krijack Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1153
Loc: Tacoma
This brings up, to me, a question that is probably not very convenient. If, wild fish advocates want to argure that one to two generations in a hatchery is sufficient to alter a fishes ability to spawn, is that the same as saying changes in thier adaptability and perhaps DNA can change that fast. If so, how important are the minor differences in DNA and adapatability to a specific river system. It seems the same arguement could be made to state that an introduced fish or a stray could adapt to a new river in a very short time, making the differences found very inconsequential.

#1012963 - 08/15/19 12:38 PM Re: ESA Changes and Threatened PS Steelhead? [Re: RUNnGUN]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 5523
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
It is pretty well established that even at one generation, time spent in a hatchery can have deleterious effects. Any organism responds to its environment. In a hatchery, 95% of the eggs are converted to fry while in the wild 20% is often high. At a very simple level, that means something like 4 out of every 5 hatchery fry would not have emerged in the wild. Those genes are protected and in succeeding generations may come to dominate. You raise those fish in 50 degree hatchery water and they won't do well in 35 degree creeks. We see this, and it is why when they get loose to spawn in the wild you get not much from it.

But, those genes, if deleterious, are weeded out in a hurry. But, to permanently keep them out you have to stop letting them get into the gravel. Then, what does spawn will adapt, and rather quickly. But, if you keep on allowing a few hundred of them to spawn, you keep getting a few hundred, plus maybe a few more, back.

I believe that the idea of allowing fish spawning in the wild to naturally adapt to that system is very workable IF you stop allowing hatchery fish to spawn out there and IF you significantly increase escapement numbers (by 10-20X in at least the short term). Then, the fish will sort it out.

We don't really need ESA for WA salmon. We (WA Co-managers) control most of the harvest, we (WA State) control land use, we (WA state) control the water removals and discharges.



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