The WDFW announced today that as of tomorrow (Oct 22) Area 13 will open for recreational, selective coho fishing. We welcome this news, but continue to search for answers to two questions:
- Why has this taken so long? Tribal and Non-Tribal net fisheries are already in full swing — why are recreational fisheries lagging behind?
- While we welcome Area 13 being opened, why do areas Areas 6, 9, 10 and 11 remain closed?
We certainly understand these areas will open in November for blackmouth, but again thousands of recreational trips were taken last year in the last 2 weeks of October. These anglers all paid for their 2016 licenses — and combined they more in licensing fees than the Non-Tribal commercial fishermen who have gotten access this month.
10/26 Update: WDFW has responded to our inquiries and asserts there were no modeled impacts reserved on Puget Sound chinook (esp. blackmouth) to allow an October fishery. We are huge advocates for active in-season management, but they will require actual management by the department. Two weeks of late October selective Coho fishing in Puget Sound have a very modest impact on Chinook — and making that trade off is what in-season management is all about.
WDFW release at the [link]
I have to admit, I am confused by these actions. We cannot have a hatchery coho retention fishery in areas 8-1, 8-2, 9, or 10 in order to protect ESA Chinook, even though there are sufficient coho and Chinook present, apparently, to have directed coho fisheries for both tribal and non-tribal gillnet fishers.
That’s both frustrating, and in direct contradiction to both the Governor’s and Directors directions to allocate the fisheries where they will creat the most economic benefit…there is no question that a recreational fishery generates far more economic benefit than either or both of those fisheries combined.
Now we get this news; Starting in three days 8-1, 8-2, 9, and 10 all open for a directed Chinook fishery, requiring the release of all coho.
Apparently not ony do Chinook impacts all of a sudden appear to be available a few days from now, but are available until the end of April in all of those areas (except MA 10 which is only open until the end of February.)
So, while the recreational fleet is fishing over the magical Chinook impacts that don’t exist this week, but will in a few days, we still cannot retain hatchery coho.
How can we not have a coho fishery in order to protect ESA Chinook (while they are being gillnetted), and then have a directed Chinook fishery that still forces us to release hatchery coho, presumably to protect ESA Chinook?
This just gets more and more ridiculous as the season progresses, and all the while millions of recreational dollars continue to drain away from the economy.
Amazing to see things go from ridiculous to insane! It’s evident that this has been managed alright, they have “managed” to make it very clear that they are prioritizing commercial (both Tribal and NT) over recreational and that the system is severely in need of a major over haul.. I had hopes, with the appointment of Dir. Unsworth that things would improve. Once again they have not failed to disappoint. Business as usual. The BIG MONEY TRUMPS THE AVERAGE TAX PAYING LICENSES BUYING CITIZEN!! GREAT JOB WDFW AND DIR. UNSWORTH, GREAT JOB INDEED!!!
Hey Tidal Exchange, where’s your about page?
We’ve had some recent contributors join, I expect by Monday we’ll have that live, along with some House Rules for comments/etc. Appreciate your patience.