COMMENTS ON THE LATEST WILLAPA PLAN DRAFT
are my latest comments to staff on the
latest Willapa Plan draft. Take a look feel free to agree or disagree but I
think it at least allows folks to get an idea of where we are at. Here is a
link to the Willapa site and the plan is linked near the bottom of the page and forgive the formatting but cut & paste can be a bear.
Willapa Draft Plan
am submitting my thoughts on the latest Willapa Management Plan ( WMP ) draft.
After considerable conversation with others I can say with certainty that the
current WMP draft left many if not most confused. Depending on how folks read
it one could draw just about any conclusion one wished dependant on the
interpretation of the definition of HSRG, conservation objectives, and harvest
directives. I am submitting for your
consideration the following modifications to the WMP draft.
1. Chinook Primary
Stream: After review it is apparent the Willapa is the
logical choice. With its close proximity to North River and Smith Creek it will
enhance the ability to meet conservation objectives for all three streams.
Additionally as Chinook produced at the Forks Creek hatchery stray in large
numbers that cannot be removed to meet HSRG requirements due the location of
the Forks Creek Hatchery and the lack of a weir that can stop the staying. It
is doubtful other than a minimal number Chinook can be produced at that
facility. In the choice of Willapa as Primary it will dramatically increase the potential of
meeting HSRG guidelines within the time frames identified in the WMP draft for
Willapa, North River and Smith Creek.
2. Managing For
In the WMP I see in the Chinook options you have “ Achieve spawner
goals for natural-origin Chinook “. In Coho you have
“Achieve the aggregate spawner goal for natural-origin
Coho” Now some are reading this as you make the individual stream goals for
Willapa Chinook and the aggregate for the Willapa Estuary for Coho. So clarification
of that verbiage is needed. What is meant by goals in Chinook? All the
tributary streams or Willapa & Naselle or something else?
Additionally the aggregate Coho and Chum
objectives lack what is commonly called a "floor " or minimum escapement
goal for the Willapa Estuary streams that would trigger harvest protection of
these streams. As written the plan would permit Willapa and Naselle to drive
and make the aggregate Coho escapement goal and literally wipe out the
remaining streams in the Willapa Estuary. Simply put a aggregate Coho and Chum escapement goals minus a "floor" is not
Harvest: In the harvest options recreational harvest between
marine and freshwater inriver is not clearly defined.. In the Grays Harbor plan
these are clearly stated. By not placing similar guidelines in the WMP it is
likely creating an unbelievable confrontation between Marine and Freshwater
Inriver recreational fishers at North of Falcon. It is my understanding that
the Commission desired to remove confrontation between all users rather than increase
the conflict which the current WMP draft does between marine and freshwater
inriver recreational fishers. I urge the
addition of the following verbiage to any and all options.
Marine and inriver
freshwater recreational Chinook harvest impacts shall be divided equally. Either can exceed its share as long as it
does not impair a full season for the other. ( see a,b,c)
A. Marine full
season is defined as a 2T recreational opening May 31 unless a conservation
objective requires a reduction. 6 fish limit, two rods per angler from a boat preseason forecast runsize
inriver recreational full season is defined as a August 1 opener for the Willapa estuary streams for all reaches open to recreational anglers unless
a conservation objective
requires a reduction. 4 adults a day, two rods per angler from a boat, no limit on Jacks
preseason forecast runsize permitting.
C. Any and all
conservation driven recreational fisher reductions shall be equally shared by
marine and fresh water inriver recreational fishers.
4. 2T Commercial
lack of a clearly define 2T Commercial exclusion has many believing that
commercial harvest could start as early as July and just about any week to
September 15. I urge that the WMP clearly state the recreational harvest
priority and suggest the following verbiage be added to the WMP and any and all
No commercial fisheries shall take place in area 2T and U prior
to September 16.
5. Chum Management:
The current WMP verbiage on Chum harvest and management is woefully inadequate.
I urge you to consider adding the
will be managed with the intent of achieving the aggregate goal for Willapa Bay
naturally spawning Chum salmon
. Until the spawner goal is achieved, the
maximum fishery impact shall not exceed a 10% harvest rate and no commercial
fisheries will occur in the period from October 15-31. If the aggregate goal
has been achieved, but the pre-season forecast of adult Chum is less than the
aggregate goal, or less than 10% higher than the aggregate goal, fisheries in
the Willapa Bay Basin will be scheduled to result in an impact of no more than
10% of the adult return.
No commercial fisheries Oct. 15-31 until spawner goal achieved 2
consecutive years. If the number of natural-origin spawners was less than the
goal in 3 out of the last 5 years (beginning in 2010), the Department shall
implement the following measures:
a) The predicted
fishery impact for Chum in WDFW-managed fisheries in the Willapa
Harbor & tributary streams will not
exceed 10% of the adult return to Willapa Harbor.
b) When the Chum
preseason forecast is 90% or less of the escapement goal the predicted
fishery impact for Chum in WDFW-managed fisheries in the Willapa Harbor & tributary streams will
not exceed 5% of the adult return to Willapa Harbor.
The changes are consistent to the directives of the Commission in the recently
adopted Grays Harbor Management Plan. Willapa Chum have made escapement 6 out
of the last 18 years and only 1 of the last 9 due to the agencies inability or
unwillingness to address the failure to make Chum escapement goals.
closing I would like to thank you and Region 6 staff for your effort thus far
and look to work toward the goal Willapa salmon management reform.
Posted on Thu, January 15, 2015
by Dave Hamilton