Hi all,

Here is a down & dirty look at key conservation provisions of the GHMP unanimously passed by the commission:

1) Secured a 3 consecutive days/wk net-free escapement window

2) Must meet escapement goals for each stock at least 3 out of the 5 previous years in order to have directed fishing on that stock & manage for a NT impact of 5%.

3) Affirmed that Hump and Chehalis sub-basins shall be managed as distinct and separate drainages.

4) Chehalis fall kings are allocated 0.8% to the state nets at low abundance to 5.8% at high abundance on a linear sliding scale between run sizes of 18K to 25K. For clarity, the commission shared slides from about 2% up to 27% of the total state share.

5) Humptulips fall kings will fall under similar provisions starting at 1.2% at the low end and 5.6%. (memory may be a bit shaky on that upper number)

I think this about captures what was adopted yesterday and until it is posted nothing much to add on the verbiage. The thing is is this another leg of the journey that more or less is coming together in four stages. So the first steps have been taken so what is next one might ask? The harvest model & mortalities which Chair Wecker addressed Saturday.

Chair Wecker's closing comments included a commitment on the record to better determine release mortalities in both the comm and rec fisheries… about this policy being a new beginning to push the agency forward in implementing fisheries that improve our ability to selectively release depressed NON-target stocks unharmed.

This issue is being addressed almost daily as agency staff and the litigants work to finalize the time line as part of the settlement of the legal action taken by three East County citizens that was settled out of court. The entire settlement can be viewed here but the points below are the most relevant at the moment.

a. Assist the Department in the planning, promotion, and implementation of a workshop to ensure that the release mortality rates used for preseason planning of commercial fisheries in Grays Harbor are based on the best available information (Workshop 1 -February 2014). After the conclusion of the workshop, the panel of independent fishery scientists (paid for through the independent account created and funded pursuant to paragraph 3, above) will summarize scientific studies presented at the workshop and provide recommendations on release mortality rates.

b. Assist the Department in the planning, promotion, and implementation of a workshop to review the performance identify improved methods for predicting the catch in Grays Harbor Basin salmon fisheries (Workshop 2 - February 2014). Panelists will present information on the performance of previous catch projections, propose improvements, and solicit additional suggestions to improve preseason catch projections.

c. Assist the Department in the planning, promotion, and implementation of four workshops designed to improve understanding of salmon fishery management in the Grays Harbor Basin (Workshops 3-6). The workshops would occur prior to August, 2014.

The third leg of the GHMP reform effort will revolve around incorporating the policy guidelines adopted into the verbiage & Tiers in the GHMP. One more time we all need to stay engaged and track this process as the agency has a real habit of taking a clear statement and giving it the " fuzzy wuzzy " treatment.

The final element will be when the 2014 NOF process goes forward to set seasons for 2014 based upon the reformed GHMP. I & others have gotten the infamous crystal ball out to look into the future and guess what, we do not have a clue. When everything outlined in this post ( and previous post ) are completed the fall salmon seasons are going to be different than in the past to be sure. Moving toward harvest management that places the fish and conservation first is not going to be painless for any of the users. It is the price we all will pay for the abuses of the past.

I 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


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