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#1061857 - 05/07/23 06:14 PM Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 4401
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
From the Daily World and this should be fun.


Court rules against overharvest of Chinook salmon

‘Decision will finally provide starving orcas immediate access to their primary prey’

The Daily World

In an international, coastwide environmental victory, a Seattle federal Court issued a landmark order halting the overharvest of Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska that has persisted for decades, jeopardizing the survival of federally protected Southern Resident killer whales and wild Chinook populations coastwide.

This decision will immediately allow the starving Southern Resident population far greater access to these Chinook which are the whale’s primary prey, marking a turning point for their recovery, according to a news release.

The ruling appears to have closed the Southeast Alaska salmon fishery at least through the summer, threatening hundreds of fishing jobs and a $30 million industry.

The lawsuit was filed by the Washington state based Wild Fish Conservancy, which aims to protect endangered orcas off the West Coast.

“I’m in a mild state of shock,” said Amy Daugherty, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association, which intervened as a defendant in the lawsuit. “Of course we are disappointed.”

Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration, which also intervened in the lawsuit on the trollers’ behalf, issued a statement stating the Department of Law will ask for Jones’ ruling to be set aside while an appeal plays out. It said the department will “immediately” notify



the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that an appeal is pending.

Jones’ ruling is “a radical step,” the statement quoted Attorney General Treg Taylor as saying.

“We’ll continue to pursue every available avenue in defense of Alaska’s fisheries,” Taylor said. “We understand the critical importance of this fishery to the affected fishermen and communities across Southeast. … We will be filling a request to stay the order pending appeal and immediately notifying the Ninth Circuit that an appeal is forthcoming.”

Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said the state has a responsibility to look out for fisheries and the Southeast Alaska coastal communities.

“The State of Alaska abides by the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the Biological Opinion that is tied to it, and it is troubling that this ruling singles out our fisheries,” he said.

Alaska has argued in its filed pleadings that the Southeast commercial chinook troll fishery has little effect on the listed species, especially considering the gauntlet of predators between the fishery and the identified pod of whales.

Their filing included, “Shutting down the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries would have negligible, if any, impact on the Southern Resident Killer Whale, as any Chinook not caught in Southeast must travel some 700 miles past Canadian commercial and recreational fisheries, tribal fisheries, Northern Resident Killer Whale, and Steller sea lions, which are also predators of large Chinook, and Southern U.S. fisheries to reach the Southern Resident Killer Whale.”

Emma Helverson, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy, said the Court’s decision is the largest victory for Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery in decades.

“This Court decision is the largest victory for Southern Resident killer whale recovery in decades and will be celebrated internationally,” she said. “After years of inaction by our federal government to address the prey crisis facing the Southern Residents, Judge Jones’ decision will finally provide starving orcas immediate access to their primary prey,” Helverson said. “What’s more, by allowing far more wild Chinook to return home to their spawning grounds, this action is also helping to recover and restore wild Chinook from rivers throughout Oregon,Washington and British Columbia, essential to rebuilding both populations in the long-term.”

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones issued a final ruling in Wild Fish Conservancy’s lawsuit agreeing that halting the summer and winter seasons of the Southeast Alaska Chinook troll fishery is the most appropriate remedy. The Court subsequently remanded NOAA Fisheries’ biological opinion in order for the agency to address the serious underlying violations of environmental law previously found by the Court.

In that biological opinion evaluating the fishery’s impact on threatened and endangered species, NOAA admitted that over the last decade and persisting today, Chinook harvest is occurring at levels that are unsustainable for the long-term survival and reproductive success of both threatened wild Chinook populations and endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Still, NOAA authorized the harvest to continue at these levels relying on proposed mitigation they claimed would offset this serious harm. In summary judgment in August, the Court overwhelmingly found the mitigation was insufficient and violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that NOAA failed to conduct legally required environmental review of the mitigation, which would include opportunities for public input and an evaluation of alternatives, such as reductions in harvest.

Southern Resident killer whales were listed as Endangered in 2005. Currently, there are only 73 individuals in the population, an alarming decrease from nearly 100 only 25 years ago. Reduced prey availability, specifically large and abundant wild Chinook, has been identified by killer whale experts and NOAA as the primary cause of their decline.

Research has shown an alarming 69% of Southern Resident killer whale pregnancies are aborted due to insufficient Chinook salmon and inbreeding depression has been identified as a growing threat to the population’s survival and recovery.

“This is unbelievable news, yet so long in coming,” said Wild Orca’s Science and Research Director Dr. Deborah Giles. “The high pregnancy failure rate within the Southern Resident killer whale population is linked to poor nutrition, so having more fish returning to their home waters in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, will increase the whales’ prey base and improve their chances of giving birth to healthy calves.”

In a declaration evaluating the effect of the troll fishery’s harvesting the Southern Resident population, modeling by Dr. Robert E. Lacy projected closing the fishery would increase prey availability by approximately 6%, which would be enough to stabilize the population and stop their decline toward extinction, though additional actions would be required to begin to grow the population.

The Court stated: “Though there is uncertainty as to how much prey would ultimately reach the Southern Resident Killer Whales, the record before the Court suggests that closure of the fisheries meaningfully improves prey available

SALMON from page A1 to A6

A Southern Resident orca splashes in Puget Sound. WILD FISH CONSERVANCY

to the Southern Resident Killer Whales, as well as Southern Resident Killer Whales population stability and growth, under any scenario.”

As a result of the decision, about 172,000 Chinook that would have been harvested or indirectly killed in the 2023 summer and winter seasons of the Southeast Alaska troll fishery will now be able to continue their historical migration south to home spawning grounds and into the whale’s key foraging areas. The troll fishery has about900 permit holders who harvest about 200,000 salmon each year.

“Dr.Lacy’s findings suggest that the single action of closing this fishery would increase prey availability enough to stabilize the Southern Resident population. Stopping the precipitous decline of the whales toward extinction is the highest priority toward recovery efforts. These findings clearly demonstrate that Chinook harvest in Southeast Alaska’s troll fishery is contributing to the decline of the whales, validating why the Court’s decision is so critically important to the survival of this population,” says Helverson.

While the fishery occurs in Southeast Alaska marine waters, most people are unaware that up to 97% of all Chinook harvested in the Southeast Alaska troll fishery migrate from rivers throughout British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Roughly half of the fish harvested originate from the Columbia River, and many come from populations listed as Threatened under the ESA.

Currently, these Chinook are harvested in their ocean rearing habitats preventing them from migrating back into southern waters where the Southern Resident killer whales encounter them. Majority of stocks harvested in the fishery are identified as priority stocks for the Southern Residents.

“Alaskan fishers should not be blamed for NOAA’s chronic mismanagement of this fishery, and we are sincerely sympathetic to the burden this decision will pose to Southeast Alaskan communities,” says Helverson. “However, this decision will finally address decades of harm and lost opportunity this overharvest has caused to fishing communities throughout British Columbia, Oregon and Washington who depend on these fish, particularly tribal and First Nations. In addition to the unparalleled benefits to killer whale and Chinook recovery, the Court’s decision is addressing this historic inequity and restoring control to coastal communities of the destiny of salmon recovery in their home watersheds.”

“The underlying harvest issues in this case are not an anomaly, but rather just one example that demonstrates the problems caused when harvest occurs in the ocean where it is impossible to avoid unintentionally harming threatened and endangered populations or intercepting high proportions of salmon from rivers coastwide,” said Kurt Beardslee, director of special projects. “Scientists are increasingly calling for harvest reform measures that shift harvest out of the ocean and into fisheries in or near each river of origin where salmon return, providing fisheries managers and coastal communities the ability to manage recovery with far greater accuracy and success.”





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

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#1061859 - 05/08/23 09:04 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
cohoangler Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 12/29/99
Posts: 1604
Loc: Vancouver, Washington
I posted the following diatribe elsewhere on this BB. I'm re-posting it here for further discussion.

"As it stands, the SE AK troll fishery for Chinook will not happen for this year. But things could change.

If the almost-certain appeal to the 9th Circuit results in a stay of the ruling, the SE AK fishery would commence, but perhaps with some additional restrictions. Or the 9th could take the appeal but deny the request to stay the ruling (most likely). In that case, the fishery would likely close entirely for this year.

In the meantime, NMFS would write another biological opinion that they believe can withstand another court challenge. But that won't happen quickly (i.e., not this year). Next year maybe. WFC is likely to challenge whatever biological opinion NMFS develops for this fishery in the future. And NMFS knows this. So whatever they write is not likely to result in anything close to the SE AK fishery as it has existed in recent years. The fishing restrictions might be fairly substantial.

And the Alaska fishery for coho and chum might also be affected since the fishery for these species also catch immature/feeder Chinook. The recovery rate for 'shaker' Chinook caught and released while fishing for coho can be really low, particularly when using commercial trolling gear..

All this is good news for everyone (except, of course, those folks who depend on the SE AK troll fishery for their livelihood). Perhaps nobody more so than the folks at the Bonneville Power Administration. The SE AK troll fishery is/was heavily dependent on Columbia River fall Chinook (some tules but mostly URB's). Reducing the harvest of these fish in SE AK will definitely put more Chinook into the Columbia River. That increases the benefits of the measures taken by the Federal hydro-power system to protect salmon. And the Tribes will be really happy since URB's are their target species in the fall."


Edited by cohoangler (05/08/23 09:04 AM)

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#1061860 - 05/08/23 03:27 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
GodLovesUgly Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 1248
Loc: WaRshington
"Any Chinook not caught in Southeast must travel some 700 miles past Canadian commercial and recreational fisheries, tribal fisheries, Northern Resident Killer Whale, and Steller sea lions, which are also predators of large Chinook, and Southern U.S. fisheries to reach the Southern Resident Killer Whale.”

I don't think this quote is likely to have the desired effect they are hoping for...


"everyone is trying to kill them, they might as well die in our fisheries!" crazy
_________________________
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.

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#1061861 - 05/08/23 04:16 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
They might as well die in our fisheries is AK's mantra. Notice that whole opposition rested on the fact that there were fishermen who needed to fish.

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#1061862 - 05/08/23 04:45 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
seabeckraised Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 05/12/21
Posts: 233
Loc: Mason County
Good ole fashioned welfare operation for residents of SE Alaska and those that reside elsewhere in the off-season.

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#1061863 - 05/08/23 08:02 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: seabeckraised]
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 4401
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
Here is a CCA paper from a bit back on the allocation of Chinook and the Southern restrictions. This where it gets interesting because the 2023 Grays Harbor Harvest Model identifies who in the marine area takes GH Chinook and Alaska was to take 7928. This was just completed recently and reflects announced 2023 marine seasons.

So looking at the CCA work and then the 2023 GH model the numbers don't seem to work as the total shut down results in 7928 GH Chinook not harvested by Alaska. Sooooo like I said for GH this should be interesting as those fish got to end up someplace.

CCA:
2023 Fall Pre-Season Allocation of West Coast Salmon Fisheries
Columbia River Fisheries Not a Priority

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) recently wrapped up the annual North of Falcon process where WDFW, ODFW, and tribes negotiated salmon fisheries in Oregon and Washington,
including allocating the allowable harvest of Columbia River salmon stocks in summer and fall fisheries.

ESA-listed lower Columbia River fall Chinook salmon (aka Tules) are once again the primary limiting stock for this year’s fall fisheries, the same as in 2022. That means that the harvest impacts on Tules are used to prioritize nearly all fall salmon fisheries on the Pacific coast, north of Cape Falcon. Compared to last year, you can see in the table below how WDFW, ODFW and PFMC representatives prioritized this year’s fall fisheries.

2022 vs 2023 Pre-Season Prioritization of Tule Impacts

2022 2023 Change
WA Coast (rec and commercial)* 0.3% 0.4% 33.3%
NOF Recreational 3.0% 4.0% 33.3%
NOF Non-Treaty Troll (commercial) 4.1% 5.4% 31.7%
BC (rec and commercial) 13.0% 14.0% 7.7%
NOF Treaty Troll (commercial) 2.2% 2.2% 0.0%
Columbia River (rec and commercial) 9.8% 9.4% -4.1%
SE Alaska(1) (rec and commercial) 2.9% 2.2% -24.1%
SOF Recreational(2) 0.6% 0.2% -66.7%
SOF Troll(2) (commercial) 2.1% 0.2% -90.5%
Total Allowable Tule Impacts: 38.0% 38.0%

* WA Coast is primarily comprised of impacts associated with fisheries in Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and Puget Sound.
(1) Alaska commercial troll fishery decreased per Court Order to protect Killer Whales.
(2) Most salmon fisheries closed on the California/Oregon coast to protect Sacramento River and Klamath River Chinook.

Impacts to Columbia River Fisheries
Given mandatory closures in Alaska, California and Oregon, a rather significant percentage (3%) of Tule impacts were made available in 2023 to be distributed to other fisheries. All other fisheries were either increased or saw no change except for the Columbia River, where shockingly, fisheries managers intentionally chose to reduce fishing opportunity, where more than 350,000 licensed anglers fish. By comparison, the commercial non-treaty troll fishery, which consists of approximately 100 licenses, was allocated almost half of the available 3% Tule impacts.

Next Steps
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to reverse the pre-season decision to decrease Columbia River fishing opportunity in 2023 (unused impacts can still be shifted to in-river fisheries). The popular
Columbia River Buoy 10 recreational salmon fishery is planned to close for at least five days (Aug 21-23, 28-29) and will also be managed 100% mark-selective to utilize Tule impacts more effectively. Ocean fisheries, however, are not being managed as mark-selective fisheries, which is the most sustainable way to harvest Pacific Salmon in mixed stock fisheries. These are the current Washington representatives on the PFMC: Phil Anderson – former WDFW Director and Westport charter boat owner, Butch Smith –
Ilwaco charter boat owner and captain, Kelly Susewind - WDFW Director.
_________________________
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in

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#1061864 - 05/09/23 08:00 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
And this is why the fish haven't got a chance. Wild fish, at least. The managers determine a level of impacts on all the stocks, including those that are ESA listed. In managers minds, those fish must be killed. So the depressed stocks keep staying depressed by any saving on closing one fishery goes to fishermen in another.'

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#1061865 - 05/09/23 09:46 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
RUNnGUN Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 1359
Read this on another board. Interesting?
"They have united the tribes and Northwest Indian Fisheries , as well as SE Alaska trollers, and State of Alaska plus some forces in DC. If they can prevail against that unified opposition it means they will come for all our fisheries incrementally in next 10 years."
I'm surprised the tribes would oppose "more fish returning"? In the future I could see them stepping in, with little opposition, taking over those commercial fisheries and markets with the caucasions out of the picture.


Edited by RUNnGUN (05/09/23 09:50 AM)
_________________________
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller.
Don't let the old man in!

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#1061866 - 05/09/23 11:51 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Hoh v. Baldridge set the bar, in WA, that the Indians can't be closed for conservation until all NI (at lest under WA control) are closed. In the absence of closures, the Tribes and Feds pushed for "sharing". That is, if the NI too 100 Hoh river fish (incidental to 100 K coho in the ocean) then the Hoh's get 100 in the river regardless of status.

Also, this finding puts ESA to a very high level in planning. NOAA is on record as saying that the SE A fishery does starve out the whales. I can envision (and prefer) a situation where all salmon harvest occurs after it has passed the whales. This would mean that all harvest would be in bays and rivers unless the whales aren't there.

For example, it is September and the whales are playing around in the Straits and San Juans. Salmon fisheries (rec and commercial) could be held in 10, 11, 12, and 13 until the whales move south. That scheme would not require any change in escapement targets, just intensify terminal fisheries.

So, I can see the WA Tribal opposition to elevating ESA to that high of a level. Also, some WA tribes are more mixed-stock oriented than others. They also likely tend to be the ones with the most Legislative and Congressional sponsorships.

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#1061867 - 05/09/23 02:57 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
eyeFISH Offline
Ornamental Rice Bowl

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 12606
_________________________
"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)


The Keen Eye MD
Long Live the Kings!

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#1061868 - 05/09/23 03:57 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Krijack Online   content
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1515
Loc: Tacoma
Isn't Canada's take of our fish at partially predicated on Alaska taking their fish? With Alaska pulling back the harvest, does that mean Canada will be pushed to pull back their take of our fish? Perhaps not this year, but in the future if this becomes permenant.

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#1061869 - 05/09/23 04:24 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
The Pacific Salmon Treaty was based on some form of "sharing" in that because you take X, we take Y. I have been out of it for a while but suspect that the most recent iteration gave AK X and Canada Y. Canada is, if I read things correctly, more interested in their sockeye and steelhead harvests with these being primarily net which are still ongoing.

Since the target of the saved fish was WA stocks primarily I would suspect Canada would us which Canadian stocks we plan to not catch.

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#1061870 - 05/10/23 07:30 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Carcassman]
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 4401
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope

And the drama continues.

Inseason Action in 2022-2023 Ocean Salmon Fisheries, North of Cape Falcon Commercial #52

NOAA Fisheries has taken inseason action in the Pre-May 16, 2023 commercial salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon (NOF).

The following modification to NOF has been made:
• Effective Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 12:01 am, the commercial salmon troll fishery in the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queens River (La Push and Neah Bay subareas) is closed.


Please refer to the Final Rule for the West Coast Salmon Fisheries 2022 – 2023 Specifications and Management Measures for additional regulations and supporting materials.
The 2023 – 2024 Specifications and Management Measures currently in development will be posted here.
_________________________
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in

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#1061871 - 05/10/23 08:13 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
eyeFISH Offline
Ornamental Rice Bowl

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 12606
https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/salmon/coastal/hotline

Precautionary closure for LaPush and Neah as they are well on their way to chewing thru their ~6.9K allocation
_________________________
"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)


The Keen Eye MD
Long Live the Kings!

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#1061873 - 05/11/23 07:34 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Perhaps NOAA has finally figured that ESA may have some teeth when they ignore it.

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#1062072 - 06/22/23 06:13 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
darth baiter Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 191
Loc: United States

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#1062073 - 06/22/23 06:52 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
steely slammer Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 02/24/00
Posts: 1500
great.. someone got a bunch of $$$$$$$
_________________________
Where Destroying Fishing in Washington..

mainly region 6

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#1062076 - 06/23/23 08:25 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 13397
I'm not pleased with the decision by the 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, but I think I understand it. The economic impacts to Alaskan fisherman and communities is calculable and certain, whereas the prospective benefits to the listed orcas is speculative and not calculable. However, the salient question not addressed by the court and certainly not the fish management agencies, is that isn't it well beyond time that mixed stock ocean salmon fisheries are phased out to make a significant contribution to salmon and orca conservation goals?

Personally I think that all the conservation efforts directed toward the SRKW are too late to facilitate their recovery. The things that could have made a difference for the SRKW were decided decades ago. So now we find ourselves in the, "But we have to do something!" situation to comply with the ESA and mainly to make ourselves feel better about their eventual extinction.

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#1062077 - 06/23/23 11:06 AM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7446
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
I think they are getting pretty close to functionally extinct with few breeding age females.

Guess we need to totally outlaw Whale Watching boats and any recreational boating in PS. Let them die in peace.

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#1062078 - 06/23/23 09:01 PM Re: Court Drops The Hammer on Marine Chinook Harvest [Re: Rivrguy]
eyeFISH Offline
Ornamental Rice Bowl

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 12606
GDITMMM!

I was rather looking forward to experiencing what an extra nearly 8000 kings might be like on the home turf.

[Bleeeeep!]… I guess the Home Team will NEVER know.
_________________________
"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)


The Keen Eye MD
Long Live the Kings!

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