[Editors notes: We received a letter on Jan 12th from WDFW/Ron Warren, asserting that state is in possession of 2016 fish tickets from the Tribes, but that those tickets have not yet been entered into the state database. The following day (Jan 13th) we asked a number of detailed follow-up questions, including a request for access to those fish tickets. On January 30th we received a response from Ron Warren which did answer many technical questions we had about the databases and information flow. However, the replies did not include the requested fish ticket data–we were told that our use of a different email address for the original request and our follow-up questions precluded that. This all effectively re-sets the timer once again on our request — originally filed October 21st last year. Our search for answers continues…]
Researching a forthcoming story on 2016 Coho harvest, we submitted a public records request to the WDFW — covering all Tribal chinook and coho harvest from the past year. That records request was completed recently and the results were.. well.. Stunning.
At present, not a single Coho has been recorded as caught by the Puget Sound Tribes in 2016… You read that correctly–not one fish was reported caught. While we can’t yet make a firm estimate on the total unreported catch, we’re confident that on the order of 10,000 Coho were taken in waters adjacent to Seattle alone. Not a single one of them has been reported thus far.
In fact, once the stronger-than-expected run arrived, there were numerous tribes conducting Coho gill-net fisheries all over Puget Sound: Puyallup, Suquamish, Muckleshoot, Skokomish, etc.. How can none of these fisheries have been accounted for and tracked? How can the Tribes and WDFW expect to plan and execute seasons together in a cooperative way when the simplest forms of accountability — reporting catch — has broken down?
This isn’t just a little bit of missing data — this is a missing season for Tribal harvest of an entire run, across all of Puget Sound. On a normal year this would be unacceptable. But against the backdrop of the controversy and in-season management done last summer this goes past unacceptable and appears intentionally deceptive.
What about Chinook?
The 2016 Chinook reporting from the Tribes is better, but only slightly, with 6 tribes reporting catches. The Tulalip Tribe deserves credit–they appear to have submitted a full census of their Chinook fisheries: 230 fish tickets submitted and 1677 Chinook caught. The other five reporting tribes (Nooksack, Puyallup, Sauk-Suiattle, Swinomish, and Upper Skagit) combined to report just 37 additional fish tickets and 218 fish in total. Over the coming days, we’re going to compare these fish tickets to the days/dates these Tribes had Chinook fisheries open to get a sense for the quality of the reporting here.
Puget Sound treaty tribes with no reports of Chinook or Coho include the Suquamish, Muckleshoot, Skokomish, Lummi, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, Lower Elwha, Makah, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, and Nooksack Tribes. As above, we’re going to crunch the data here to see how many days worth of openers went unreported, in total.
We can’t emphasize enough how damaging we feel this is to the already difficult season-setting process. Beyond the loss of the data itself to help better model future seasons, the lack of accountability and transparency is sure to further erode trust between the co-managers. This is the path of ruin — and exactly what we do not need on the heels of such a contentious 2016.
This is the first in a series of articles featuring post-game analysis of the 2016 Coho and Chinook season. If you like and support this sort of reporting, and you use Facebook, give us a Like or Share below!
The N O F process and WDFW need to put their big boy pants on and take the tribes back to court over the Bolt decision.
Grow some WDFW and take the tribe to court and reverse the Bolt Decision. Trump said things that upset people, time for the others to get with it.
I am so beyond “speechless… and dumbfounded. .. and outraged”
This is ridiculous!Sport fishermen do all we can to uphold the law and fish responsibly. We are held accountable by the WDFW. If we dont then we pay the price. Its time to wake up and make them abide by the law! If not, then they pay the price too!If the WDFW is afraid of the tribes then just wait and see how much fear the sport fishermen can damage their paychecks with a Washington boycott! If the Indians dont obey the law then why should we? Outlaw River Netting!Only idiots would kill the spawning grounds of Washington’s most valued fisheries! River netting is [an inappropriate] way of fishing!
So the tribes which objected to and have prevented final ramp work at the WDFW’s Point No Point boat launch asserting that increased access for recreational fishers would interfere with their ability to exercise their Treaty fishing rights didn’t catch any Chinook or silvers in 2016? So where is the problem??
Between the WDFW and the tribes they have all but killed off the priceless resource fisheries provide. There was a time when the Skagit was the number 1 river for Steelhead and 50lb salmon were not uncommon now , due to river netting and EPA restrictions on dredging this fishery is all but dead. It is without comprehension that the state cannot appreciate the missed revenue and job opportunities that a vibrant sport fishing “industry” could bring to all of Washington. Sad days indeed….
The Green River was in the top 5 rivers in WA. State for Steelhead. Bye bye, they’re all gone.
The WDFW needs to get a backbone…..This is quite like a football game in which WE play by the rules and the other team doesn’t have to but the game goes on anyway. Disgusting!!!
Nothing will be done. The state no longer has control of any of those resources. Unfortunately, the tribes are running the show. The only thing the sportsman are getting are shortened seasons (or no seasons at all) and increased license fees.
No more fish count to fish checker. we can fight back.
I know all you people have suffered over in the Seattle area . We on the Olympic peninsula are going threw the same thing . It’s very sad that it has gone to this . Thanks wdfw. And tribes ?
Sounds like a BC license maybe the way to go… I’ll buy a WA shellfish license and fish North.
Join the fight! Contact The Twin Harbors Fish and Wildlife Advocacy Group http://www.THFWA.org, and help to open the WDFW/Tribal NOF meetings to the public! This will let us see exactly what the tribes are doing when the coerce the state. And make the WDFW explain why they can’t stand up to the tribes for the public.
This is total bullshit ….I grew up living and fishing At PNP … I’m done with this this politically correct bullshit it’s time to bring them down …. boycott every casino and let the WDFW we are done with the crap !
You are doing good watchdog work. Keep it up, and let me know how I can help.
[This post was made by a reader who has been impersonating Pat Pattillo — a respected and experienced fisheries expert. We are always interested in dissent, but whoever you are, you are marginalizing your points by putting words into another persons mouth]
When is the sport catch accounting available for 2016?
Oh, summer of 2018. That’s timely.
Person Impersonating Pat, and Kerry (below),
Your points are, and we suspect you know it, entirely false. Sport catch is monitored by 3 mechanisms–two of which happen in real time during the season. The first is intensive creel counting which is done at carefully selected boat ramps and marinas during the season. This data is rapidly published online, often within 48 hours. Second, there are test boats run by the state which fish among the recreational fleet. The combination of these two data streams yields a statistically sound data set–and all the input data is available to all parties shortly after the seasons complete. We are strong advocates for both science and transparency in fisheries management, and the catch monitoring on recreational fishing clearly meets both of these standards.
As you point out, there is a third input to analyzing recreational catch — which are the is the detailed catch record cards submitted in the Spring. As with the other data streams, this is transparently shared and even though it is developed after season setting for the next year — it’s a useful double check on the modeling done each year, and allows for further refinement.
There is no room to shift blame here.
Non reporting is never a good thing, but issues like this dont just appear out of nowhere. It would be interesting to see the history of why these groups feel that they have to resort to these tactics. My guess would be that it is a result of the constant opression that a society imposes on such groups. Especially when governed by the most racial peice of legislation ever written, ” The Indian Act”.
Pat Pattillo, are you saying the sports fishing reports are not available? That is outrageous! How can decisions be made without recreational sport fishing catch reports? This is unconscionable! LOL!
Please see our reply to the NOT Pat Pattillo post. The implication that sports fishing data are not collected at great expense, and published transparently, is FALSE. We will not allow this statement to go unchecked.
Please, the true number in 2016 was a epic collapse, the bonniville number as 80 % below predictions , the Pacific Ocean is dying Fukushima killed it wake up fools
This is so laughable! The tribes are still waiting for WDFW’s sport catch estimate going on 3 years now.
The writer here is clearly clueless on tribal reporting.
[We believe but cannot confirm the above post is from Phil Hamilton, a senior member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe]
First, we appreciate you stopping by and participating in the discussion…
Our first reaction is a bit of surprise that you think the lack of reporting of Tribal catch is “laughable”. We think cooperative management of fisheries requires principled behavior from both state and Tribal leaders and we’re highlighting a serious issue here. We would welcome corrections but we stand by the contents our article, and we have the Public Data Request email chains to prove this story is factually accurate.
Second, you assert the WDFW has not been providing sport-catch data (both estimates and CRC data once compiled) to the tribes. While that differs from our understanding, we will fact check that and write a full story. If you have supplemental information we should review, we’d be happy to take a look — please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes! Thank you!
My comment was to Pat Pattilo. If you are going to delete that post delete mine. Where are the sport fishing catch reports?
We did not delete the post from the imposter Pat Pattillo. And we answered your question in the response to that post above.
Unbelievable act of in your face. Time to take the tribes back to court and overturn the Boldt decision. [deleted sentence here, please remain on topic] The sport fishing, boating, and related industries lost millions of dollars this year while the tribes got free reign…. thanks to the so called “co managed” fishery. I won’t be patronizing a tribal business, store or casino any time soon.
I can’t tell you how pissed off I am. Maybe we can get the Sea Sherpards to do their thing to the tribal gill net boats. And what the hell is WDFW doing about this?
I wonder if the tribal that choose not to play by the rules really want the public to know this as it could be more costly than they know…especially if they have a casino and people start boycotting them and the revenue they bring in , which is worth more than the fish. Set up a protest billboard just outside the reservation and educate those who think this should be stopped.
Ah well, you caught me. It did take you awhile though, so there’s that.
I would say that your original post leaves some questions to your assessment.
1. You’re not showing us what evidence you have that the tribes are not sharing data. You say you made a public records request, but you don’t say exactly (or show) what records you have on hand. You also didn’t show us what request you made.
2. That said, you’re also seemingly accepting a frame about how fisheries are managed here, that the tribes report completely and timely catch records to the state. Like handing over a binder of spreadsheets with catches each week. That would probably be necessary if the tribe did in fact report to the state. But, the tribes are co-managers, which means they manage their own fisheries. Like I pointed out before, the state only reports a full accounting of their sport fisheries after a couple of years.
In this case you seem to be missing a big “YET” in your piece. And, you don’t give us a good understanding of when tribal managers would usually share the entirety of their catch data with the state.
What you are pointing out is that tribes haven’t shared catch data with the state by December for fisheries that were promulgated in October. But, you don’t point out what form these haven’t been reported, or in what fashion. The data may in fact exist in some fashion you haven’t requested.
Are they fisheries catch tickets? These are carbon copied forms that are filled out when tribal fishermen sell their catch. One copy goes to the tribe, one goes to state, one stays with the fisherman, right? Again your don’t really say.
3. What this piece does very well is confirm the biases of your core audience. The folks commenting here don’t need any additional confirmation that the tribes are dirty, rotten scoundrels out to abuse the poor sports fisherman. You’re confirming already strongly held beliefs that the tribes are leading state managers around by the nose, which certainly works for you in terms of getting an audience for your site.
Even if you had been slightly more honest and shared what information you actually had and learned/explained more about what is actually the practice of the co-managers in terms of data sharing, you wouldn’t have actually changed anyone’s mind. The take home message you were pointing out is the one your audience got. Even if the information is out there in some other form and the tribes aren’t doing anything wrong, your audience will believe what they believe.
4. Are you going back to 2014 and 2015 as well?
You were identified as an imposter in early October, look back at your other comments where we’ve noted that. One of our top objectives is to advocate for fish and transparency, and when catch records are opaque that helps neither.
1. We’ll be happy to share all that in our next article. We’re just the messenger though.
2. Again, we’ll provide detail on what we requested and WHY we believe we’re correct in asserting it’s newsworthy that the records have not been shared yet.
3. We simply reported what we found. We will continue to do so even if the tables turn and it turns out that WDFW or sporties become the target. Without the public ability to audit seasons, especially highly controversial ones, we can’t see how we can effectively advocate for change.
4. Yes. We had originally intended to study 2016 as it was a remarkable year. We’ll expand that now. Alas our requests for data used here were made 6 weeks, ago for this round, so the timelines are not easy to predict.
Do we legally have to provide information to the boat ramp fish checkers? Somehow the Puget Sound sports fishermen need to organize and implement a meaningful protest to the absurd management of this public fishery.
Yes, you legally have to provide that information. You signed that when you signed your license. And you should continue to enthusiastically support creel counts. Protest in a way that STRENGTHENS your case, and to resist creel counting will WEAKEN it!
This is typical internet nonsense. The tribes report all commercial catches through fish tickets. The process for getting them into the database is sometimes a bit slow. The numbers will be available and shared by the first North of Falcon meeting. No conspiracy here.
If you all want to get outraged, then why not focus on the real issue. The “problems” we are all experiencing in the NOF process is the lack of fish, not the lack of reporting! Where are your voices supporting funding for salmon recovery? Are you ready to go the Olympia and ask for more money for PSAR, SRFB, ESRP to restore habitat? Are you going to local and state government and DEMANDING that we stop destroying salmon habitat? Will you stand up and be heard when the science we all depend on is challenged and eliminated by our president elect?
If you all are only worried about who gets to catch the last fish, then go for it. Do it and be done. If you truly care about salmon, then do something much more productive than railing against the tribes and Boldt. Build partnerships, allies, supporters and get active or get used to being off the water. Mahalo.
The absence of data is not nonsense, nor are our expectations that it should be available by now. We are working on a second story in this vein and will provide greater detail.
We are absolutely aligned with the you, and the Tribes on habitat/recovery issues. Habitat you’ll notice is the FIRST tab on our menu for a reason. We have, and will continue to be voices enthusiastically supportive of these efforts. See Dabob Bay story posted today, as an example.
You will not find us “railing against the Tribes”. You will instead find us campaigning against opaque processes which prevent honest and objective management and oversight.
Totally irresponsible! We, the sports fisher people of Washington State, are expected to obey the laws of fish catch put forth by the Boldt decision of 1974. Yet, there seem to be Tribes that figure the law doesn’t apply to them? As we watch our fish counts dwindle in our local rivers, it is no wonder why. Therefore, the question needs to be asked, why aren’t the Native Tribes of Washington State, abiding the Boldt decision set forth in 1974? Totally irresponsible!
Its time to trade the rights to net the rivers for their exclusive rights to gaming machines and casinos. If they don’t want to remove the nets permanently, then its time to allow anyone to open a casino and have slot machines.
Tribal and nontribal commercial fisheries are held to a standard that requires that all catch be reported on fish tickets, which are turned in a way that at summary data are available to all managers within days of landing the fish. Are the sport fishermen commenting on this board really asking that all fisheries, including their sport fishery, be held to the same standard? Really? The court-ordered Puget Sound Salmon Management Plan is definitely unfair in this regard. The parties (state and tribal fishery resource managers) are required to maintain detailed and timely records of catch for commercial, ceremonial, subsistence, and test fisheries. The only standard for recreational harvest is that it be estimated “through an agreed to sport catch estimation system established following a joint study to evaluate estimation methods. ” This is why the sport catch data continues to be delayed by over a year and is always an estimate instead of a count of catch. There is simply no timely and comprehensive system of reporting sport catch similar to what exists for net catch. This continues to cause gaps in stock assessment data, despite efforts to improve recreational catch estimation in key areas and times, especially as a greater and greater part of fishery mortality comes from non-landed catch in hook-and-release fisheries. I am guessing that those who would like to see more timely and comprehensive reporting of fishing mortality from recreational fisheries would welcome greater scrutiny of catch reporting.
Great comments, Kit. Again, we were investigating the data that we expected “available to all managers” as you say — and were very surprised to find that wasn’t the case here. We’re trying to hold everyone to the standard of keeping managers to their promises, schedules and public comments. As we’ve said elsewhere in the comments — sport CRC tabulations are the last of of three streams of data regarding sport catch that the state manages and shares. If they’re not making their deadlines on reporting that, we’ll cover that too.
Glad you characterized my comment as “good” wherein I questioned the sanity of sport fishers seeking scrutiny of a system that is clearly biased in their favor. You are suggesting that your inability to obtain information from WDFW on a schedule that you demanded means that the tribal managers are not meeting their obligations. Alternatively, it is possible, and likely, that all parties are meeting their obligations and it is your demands that are unreasonable. I would also like to comment on your format and m.o. as well. Your format is great. I like a moderated discussion board and I do appreciate your censoring comments to keep people on topic. However, as a moderator, I would respectfully suggest that you need to moderate the discussion and then step aside. Your use of the moderator’s prerogative of reading comments before they are posted become abuse when you take advantage of the delay in posting to craft your personal response, which you post simultaneously with the original. You would be a better moderator if you let other participants respond as they see fit and let them, rather than you, create the content. You simply cannot simultaneously be a moderator and a participant. If you continue that m.o. you will quickly lose participants in the discussion.
Actually, we characterized them as “great”, FWIW. As you realize we are sometimes required to moderate comments, and yours came after a long line of unprintable comments… Forgive our enthusiasm (grin). We’re drafting a Part 2, which lays out the request and our specific, we believe reasonable, expectations. Look forward to your comments there.
As for the idea that we should moderate and not participate in discussion– we didn’t launch Tidal Exchange to be a place for community-generated-content generation. There are plenty of internet forums for that if you like. We considered three options — no commenting on any stories, moderated commentary with responses, and wide open commentary (moderating only objectionable material). At present, the current form is our selection. Any choice will limit our audience in some way, we choose this for Tidal Exchange.
As for the “delay” issue, if we were not volunteers spending our evening and lunch hour breaks to moderate and create content, that might be reasonable. We’ll do our best to be both appropriately responsive and permissive of all views, so long as they remain informative or at least constructive in some way.
I saw no credible references in this article. I did, however, read an article meant to stir [redacted] without revealing any other purpose at all.
Per request (of yourself and others) we’re preparing a detailed, Part 2.
Most of this information is untrue. The tribes not only share catch information, we reconcile our records to the states to ensure it’s accurate. Wdfw has a 10 percent reporting rate and slaps the sports fishers hand with a ten dollar non reporting fee, while a tribal member like myself gets a class d violation and 200 dollar fine for not reporting. How does this seem right, yet the tribes are still the bad guys?
Even if all tickets were submitted, I have seen it on the Peninsula where actual fish caught are loaded into refrigerator trucks in the dark with seemingly no regulation (not to mention the by-catch of wild steelhead etc.). So I would go as far as to question whether the actual catch counts would be accurate or not. On the other hand, I did see last year WDFG handing out citations ($1000) to tribal fishers using multiple set nets and trucks counting a weighing catches during the day. Recreational fishermen cheat too, but when the netters are cheating the impact seems much worse. As I recall the tribes were already fishing coho when the season was still closed. Partnering is great, but accountability should have priority.
[edited for length and standards of language by staff, not for spelling and grammar]
I moved to port angles to retire and enjoy the fishing it had to offer. Of which i have been doing since i was a little boy, year after i have watched the season change, shortend and now like last year none at all. But yet the tribes still fish, When is it going to stop, its plane and simple the tribes over fish and they know it, and us sport fishermen no it as well. What happend to the tribal treedy that were put in place in 1855 that the tribes got 50% and the sports fishermen got 50%. The was nothing about seasons for the sports fishermen, nor that we can only catch hatchery fish, and the sad part not only do the tribes, have a say when the sports fishermen get to fish and what there season will be. But yet they fish most of the year catching both native and hatchery fish. And its not for substance fish for the tribe use. Its individual tribe members abusing their rights for there personal profit. With no one to keep them in check, including tribal law enforcement. The reason we did not have a coho season last year in the straits and Puget sound is because of the tribes could not agree what our season and catch limit should be. Knowing well with out that agreement it would leave it up to the federal government, knowing it would take them more than eight months for them to make a decision. By that time the salmon runs would be over. They tried to say the coho run for last year was going to be low do to the warm water in the ocean, however our neighbors canada bosted the best coho run in 15 years. Last time i looked we shared the same water and same ocean. As far as i am concerned the tribes should have no more say in our seasons. they have time and time again abused there rights with no repercussions to them what so ever. The sad part i am a registered member of a federal recognized indian tribe so i have every right to complain about the abuse of these fishing rights it has to stop being so one sided. If you believe im right please share this. We have do stop this injustice.
Mark, the significant correction we’d offer is that at least for mixed-stock fisheries in inner puget sound (MA 9/10), the primary reason sportfishing was not opened is because ESA impacts had not been set aside for that contingency. Even though there would have been VERY little impact on ESA chinook, that small impact had NOT been planned for during NOF. That is ultimately on the State, not the tribes, and is a lesson well learned.
Everyone sign and pass on!
My guess is that tribal catches are reported more accurately than our states sport fishing catch records.A honor system for sport fisherman (punch card)really? I think the saying goes: A fox in charge of the hen house.
Keith, You may not like the sport punch card system, but it’s also not nearly the most important reporting data stream on recreational fishing. As detailed in both articles, there is near-real time monitoring both on the water and at marinas and ramps to ensure a highly accurate model for recreational catch is developed.
However, as you point out both foxes (to use your analogy) are in charge of their own henhouses (tribes and non-tribals) and we would very much like to see trust-building verification processes in place on both sides.
Why would the tribes be interested in trust building with the likes of this web site,the anti gillnet views expressed on this site are mostly inaccurate and insulting.Because of the tribes we still have funding for some of our states hatcheries that we all benefit from,the tribes have fought for clean water that we all benefit from,the tribes have worked hard on salmon restoration projects that we all benefit from. What have the core readers of this site done that we all benefit from?
Keith, you can try to claim that the tribes as being the only ones interested in clean water and salmon restoration, but that’s plainly false. We’d be happy to stack up the dollars invested in the resource (hatcheries, habitat restoration) and volunteer hours of the members of the state vs. the tribal members any time. Nor would we, as you seem to be, try to claim that one side has a monopoly on any of this. The tribes have done some great work, and deserve credit — which is why we feature those stories here.
And if history is our teacher, the only solution to our collective fishery management issues is to invest in trust building. Our approach to that is to constantly advocate for transparency in this relationship, and as you point out improving catch reporting is an important step in that process.
I guess if they don’t report their catch of coho or chinook then they are breaking the SO CALLED law set by the Bolt decision. 50% my butt. We have to report if we are allowed to catch one or two, then SO ARE the tribes. Take them back to court. The hell with Inslee!!
Get rid of their hunting and fishing rights, why are they so special?
Fact: no nylon nets, jet boats, tow boats, 50 cals 200 years ago.
We approved this comment so we can also point out that lots has changed on both sides since the treaty signing. We encourage energy to be directed at goals like equitable, economically sound, transparent, and science driven management of our fisheries. And all of those are in-line with treaties + Boldt.
I work for the tribes as a Data Manager. We share our catch data weekly with WDFW and they share data with the tribes as co-managers. I wonder who you ask are asking for catch from? The tribes are not the bad guys here.
We explained that we received the data directly from the WDFW as the result of a Public Data Request. The editors note at the top of the story details the developments/additional information that became available during the weeks following the publication of the story.
(1) waste water discharges/plants are killing juvenile Chinook at twice the rate of natural mortality. NOAA did the study/2016/Puyallup River. What are you going to do about this? The contaminates from pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants, antibiotics, personal care products, DEET, cholesterol are not regulated, not removed from the conventional secondary treatment POTW’s and are not typically monitored. why? they found all these and more in the salmon. Europe has tertiary plants in place. their water is getting cleaner then ours. The studies show 97,000 pounds of these chemicals are found annually in the Puget Sound and getting in our fish. so, if this continues we will have nothing to co-manage. this study was done by Jim Meador/ toxicologist who works for NOAA.
We will do our part by continuing to evangelize and highlight both habitat restoration and environmental pollution stories here.
But while we concede there is a larger issue, there is considerable documentation that Lake Washington is markedly improved from a pollutants standpoint vs. years past. So we don’t see a connection — if anything we’d have expected the survival to have increased of late.
What is the latest on this. Did the results ever come out? And what about 2017…?