Well things are heating up on several levels but I thought I would post up my comments for the Grays Harbor Commercial CR 102 Supplemental. Frankly it is a bit long winded but it is the first time that I have taken the time to put together my objections to WDF&W R-6 management of the Chehalis Basin / Grays Harbor fisheries. As always if you have questions just e-mail me.
July 10, 2013
Lori Pruess copy by mail Via email, hard copy by mail
WDFW Rules Coordinator,
600 Capitol Way North,
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
I am writing to express my opposition to the CR 102 Supplemental for Grays Harbor filed as WSR 13-14-123 on July 3, 2013 for the following reasons.
1. The commercial non treaty net fishery outlined continues the policies of institutionalized discrimination by WDF&W Region 6 ( R-6 ) toward the inland communities and in-river sport fishers. The proposed commercial harvest will remove the ability for the vast majority of fishers in these communities to harvest an equitable share.
2. WDF&W Region 6 continues to refuse to recognize and take as a whole the accumulative effect of three commercial fisheries in the Chehalis Basin / Grays Harbor. I fully recognize that the Quinault Nation's and Confederation of Chehalis Tribes share of the commercial harvest are court mandated and not open to discussion. The Legislature has mandated that the WDF&W Commission manage salmon harvest for both sport and commercial harvest is also true but it is my belief that the two tribal fisheries meet the commercial requirement and needs. For WDF&W R-6 to attempt to maintain and continue the non treaty net commercial harvest in the manner and magnitude proposed is to continue rejected past policies of WDF&W that identify fishers by race and ethnicity rather than accept that the court mandated tribal fisheries are the Chehalis Basin / Grays Harbor preeminent commercial fisheries.
3. During Public process know as North of Falcon ( NOF ) WDF&W Region 6 intentionally mislead the public by failing to identify and define the WAC processes. Staff described it as " opening the WAC " knowing full well that the CR 101 was filed 12/7/12 and CR 102 on 3/6/13 before the first Grays Harbor Adviser or the NOF Public Input meeting in Montesano. In addition staff were told via e mail in 2010 by the WDF&W Rules Coordinator that their approach to the WAC process was incorrect as substantial changes could not be made to the CR 102. WDF&W R-6 chose to disregard and continued with the practice identifying the process to the general public in a manner that was intentionally misleading.
After the public meeting in Montesano R-6 staff presented a modified non treaty commercial season to Grays Harbor Advisers with a season utilizing tangle nets for fourteen days with a 14.7 release mortality. This plan was again presented at the NOF meeting March 29th which is a daytime meeting that few citizens can attend due to having to work. On April 2, 2013 a number of GH Advisers supported a letter to WDF&W Commission Chair Wecker authored by Adviser Dr. Francis Estalilla outlining their opposition to the revised commercial season identified above. After Dr. Estalilla met with Director Anderson and several Commission Members at the following GH Adviser meeting WDF&W R-6 staff outlined a new schedule of 7 days at 25% release mortality which is reflected in the CR 102 Supplemental. At this date WDF&W R-6 has not released or provided documentation of the baseline data or methodology used to develop either the 14.7% release mortality or the 25% release mortality reflected in the CR 102 Supplemental. Having broodstocked both Chinook and Chum utilizing tangle nets, seine nets, and hook & line for over twenty years I can say with certainty the 25% tangle net mortality is not a valid release mortality anymore than the discredited 14.7% tangle net mortality or the previously utilized 45% gillnet release mortality assumption.
The 2013 Grays Harbor Fall Non Treaty Planning Model provided by WDF&W R-6 does not have the Quinault Nation or Confederation of Chehalis Tribes seasons and projected harvest data entered which is badly needed in any assessment of the proposed Grays Harbor CR 102 Supplemental. In addition WDF&W R-6 refuses to release the date, time, or location of the NOF allocation meetings with the Quinault Nation or Confederation of Chehalis Tribes and simply states the meetings are not open to the public. While I fully understand that a citizen can not actively participate in the meetings with the two tribes they can observe.
Blocking public access to WDF&W R-6 interactions with the Quinault co-managers is not a new issue as WDF&W R-6 staff even took the position that the Grays Harbor Adviser meeting could be held behind closed doors away from the public view without records being kept until this year when a newly appointed Adviser strenuously objected. The allocation meetings between the tribes are part of the NOF process and WDF&W R-6 is violating numerous rules and WDF&W Commission guidelines by denying citizens an opportunity to observe the WDF&W / tribal harvest allocation meetings which are part of the mandated public NOF process.
In reviewing the WAC processes utilized by WDF&W R-6 I that have outlined it is doubtful that any citizen would have the information needed to understand or comment on the commercial CR 102 Supplemental in an informed and knowledgeable manner.
4. It is my understanding that the approximately 48 mathematical errors in 2012 harvest model, identified by citizen John Campbell, have been corrected in the 2013 Grays Harbor Fall Non Treaty Planning Model but not the harvest assumptions that create the baseline impacts in the model. The model performance greatly underestimates 2A and 2D non treaty commercial fisheries, and the Grays Harbor Bay sport fishery. It also overestimates the in river sport harvest and both problems have been brought to WDF&W R-6 staff's attention repeatedly.
On average, the marine recreational harvest exceeds the model predictions by a factor of 350% and in 2006, anglers in the marine area overfished the modeled harvest by over 500%. Moreover, the non-treaty gillnets have historically killed 150% of their modeled paper impact over the past decade. The over-exploitation by non-treaty nets has become particularly acute in the past three years, averaging 250% of the modeled rate.
5. The management of Chinook stocks in the Chehalis Basin is in such disarray that Chehalis fall Chinook have only exceeded the minimum escapement goal twice in the previous 11 years and only 3 of the last 15 years. In other words WDF&W R-6 fails 4 out of 5 years to correctly manage harvest / escapement. This is compounded by the incorrect base line assumptions on Chinook release mortalities as WDF&W R-6 does not require utilization of the internationally accepted release protocols. The survivability of released Chinook in a “selective” tangle net or gillnet fishery is predicated on the following protocols which are 1) avoidance 2) limited soak times 3) careful handling 4) use of revival boxes and 5) gentle release into safe waters. The non treaty commercial fishers simply release netted fish by throwing the captured fish into the river at the time of retrieval of the net at the bottom end of the drift and then proceed back upstream to reset their nets for another drift resulting in the same fish being caught time after time until it perishes, if it was fortunate to survive the first encounter. The use of revival boxes is discretionary and the released fish are simply hurled back into the river be it dead or alive. The end result being that the vast majority released salmon either sink to the bottom of the river dead with those that are alive being very lethargic resulting in the fish falling prey to marauding pinnipeds . Another element of release survival is that Grays Harbor is NOT the Columbia River, these are NOT spring Chinook, and the water temperature is NOT nearly as cool and conducive to releasing stressed salmon. Water temperature in the time and area proposed is 57 degrees F in the Chehalis estuary compared to 44 degrees F in the mainstem Columbia in early spring. That makes the proposed 25% release mortality for tangle nets in Grays Harbor completely invalid as studies in the Willapa have shown. Factoring in what we already know about how the fish are mishandled the proposed tangle net season is simply a continuation of the same WDF&W R-6 policies of falsely representing the impacts of all Grays Harbor Bay marine fisheries with the non treaty commercial nets being the most egregious.
6. WDF&W R-6 identifies Chum stocks not by stream of origin but rather as Grays Harbor Chum, which is not done with any other salmonid species. Utilizing only three spawning reaches on the East Folk Satsop and Stevens Creek, a Humptulips tributary, the combined spawner escapement is extrapolated to provide the projected spawner success for the entire Chehalis & Humptulips watersheds and future harvest opportunity in any given year. This methodology is extremely problematic as it incorporates the returning adults from the 400,000 hatchery released Chum smolt from Bingham and Satsop Springs hatcheries located on the East Folk Satsop that spawn naturally with the wild Chum spawners. The hatchery origin adult Chum spawning are a substantial portion of the naturally spawning population resulting in massively inflated success ratio for wild naturally spawning Chum adults in the East Fork Satsop. This grossly inflated wild spawner recruitment extrapolated for the entire Chehalis Basin and Humptulips River Chum stocks results in a fatally flawed methodology. This methodology has allowed and dictated the continued overharvest / exploitation of Chehalis River Chum stocks above the Satsop River. This problem is not unknown to WDF&W R-6 as it has been identified by WDF&W's Science Division in the Ecosystem Diagnostic Tool potential projects report and others. In simplest terms the current WDF&W R-6 management of Chehalis Basin Chum harvest continues to decimate naturally spawning stocks of Chum and push many Chehalis tributary stocks above the Satsop River to the point of extinction.
I would urge all who visit D's Rants to do the contact bit and I will add your name to the contact list so whenever we have something interesting posted you can be notified.
Posted on Wed, July 10, 2013
by Dave Hamilton