THE GHMP REDO PART TWO!

THE GHMP REDO PART TWO!

What we have here is a E mail from Fish Program AD Jim Scott outlining coming events in the process to redo the Grays Harbor Management Plan. The final policy guidelines were attached along with two other documents. The policy guidelines are available on WDF&W's website along with having been posted in this thread previously. I or someone will get the other two documents up a bit later.

It has been a intense effort by WDF&W staff & the East County guys to finish all aspects of the Litigation but it is a done deal. So round two begins. Oh yeah almost forgot, if you want the actual e mail with the attachments hit me with a PM and I will forward it to you.

Grays Harbor Advisory Group Members –

I have several pieces of news that I believe are positive steps toward conserving Grays Harbor salmon and improving fishery management.

Settlement Agreement.  The Department signed an agreement on Friday to settle litigation regarding the rules for the 2013 Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay commercial fisheries.  As described in the attached summary, rather than prolonging litigation, the parties have agreed to build on a shared interest in enhancing communication between the Department and recreational fishers, ensuring a strong technical foundation for salmon fishery management, and improving the integration of the North of Falcon fishery planning and the rules process.  The agreement includes several provisions that are consistent with suggestions we included in our January presentation to the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).  These include the development of a Grays Harbor web page to clearly and consistently provide information on catches and spawners, and a series of collaborative workshops with stakeholders.  I wish to be clear that these workshops will be developed with input from all of you – not just the parties to the settlement agreement – and all members of the public will be encouraged to attend the workshops.

Improvements in Technical Tools.  We have discussed extensively during the last three months the draft Grays Harbor policy under consideration by the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).  Our discussions have necessarily focused on higher level policy guidance and general management direction, but I have also heard you and the public express many technical concerns.  Although all of those technical concerns may not be individually addressed in the draft policy, we have attempted to capture them in several of the guiding principles and in the adaptive management section.

For example, Guiding Principle 12 of the draft Grays Harbor Policy states:  “The Department shall improve fishery management and technical tools through improved fishery monitoring, the development of new tools and rigorous assessment of fishery models and parameters.”

The 2014 fishery planning season is now quickly approaching, and I want you to be aware of three actions that will address some of the more technical concerns that I have heard from the advisors or the public.

Grays Harbor Planning Model.  I have heard on several occasions that the Grays Harbor fishery planning model may have had computational errors in past years (I believe John Campbell may have been the first person that provided me with this information).  As a step toward implementing Guiding Principle 12 and addressing this technical concern, I have initiated the contracting process to get an independent review of the model’s computational formulas.  I hope to get that contract initiated next week - time is short before we start 2014 fishery planning!

Preseason Catch Projections.  A second technical concern that I have heard is that our preseason catch or impact projections do not accurately capture the current fisheries or accurately project fishery impacts.  The Area 2-2 recreational fishery is probably the example I hear most frequently.  We view this issue as a good topic for the workshops that were discussed above and included in the settlement agreement.  We’re targeting a February workshop and will be soliciting your ideas for how to make the workshop successful.



Release Mortality Rates.  The release mortality rates used by the Department to project the mortality of Chinook salmon released in commercial fisheries is a third technical concern that I have frequently heard.  This is a complex topic and, while the mortality rates for salmon released by recreational fishers have been the topic of multiple scientific reviews, I am not aware that the rates used by the Department for commercial fisheries in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay have had a similar scientific review.  Accordingly, we have included in the settlement agreement a process to engage the assistance of independent scientific experts to provide us with recommendations.  Again, we will be soliciting your ideas for how to make the workshop successful.

Well – its already noon on Saturday.  I’m going to see if I can catch some of this beautiful day.  Look forward to talking with you soon.

Jim

Grays Harbor Advisory Group Members

I would like to thank all of you for your assistance in developing the Grays Harbor Basin Salmon Management policy that was adopted by the Fish & Wildlife Commission.  I have attached the final policy and it is also available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/policies.html.

As I mentioned in my previous e-mail, we are working with the Twin Harbors Fish and Wildlife Advocacy nonprofit to conduct two workshops to improve the technical foundation for our fishery management.  Here is an update on the current status of these technical workshops.

Preseason Catch Projections.  We are convening a technical workgroup to review and improve our methods for predicting salmon catch or impacts in recreational and commercial fisheries in the Grays Harbor Basin.  The workgroup will include three WDFW staff members, two technical experts from the Twin Harbors Fish & Wildlife Advocacy, and 1 position is open for a technical expert from the commercial fishing industry.  During the next month, we anticipate that the technical workgroup will meet on at least two occasions to develop recommendations for improvements in our catch and impact predictions.  We have scheduled a workshop for March 10, 2PM, Natural Resources Building,  Room 172 for the technical workgroup to present their analyses and recommendations.  Let me know if you have suggestions for how to help make this workshop successful.  Additional information is provided in the attachment.

Release Mortality Rates.  We are convening an Independent Fishery Scientist Panel (IFSP) to recommend release mortality rates to use in preseason planning of commercial fisheries in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay (additional information is in the attachment).  We are fortunate to have secured the assistance of three great scientists:  Lars Mobrand, Alex Wertheimer, and Steve Smith.  Each of them has had a distinguished career with important contributions to fishery management.  We are looking forward to working with them through the following steps:

February 19 – Background information provided to IFSP. This will include a literature survey of relevant studies, harvest rates and other fishery data, environmental data such as water temperature and salinity, and information on fisher behavior and compliance with rules.   



February 26 – Workshop to present a summary of the information to the IFSP, allow the IFSP to ask questions, and provide an opportunity for the public to make comments.  The workshop will include technical presentations from WDFW, the Twin Harbors Fish & Wildlife Advocacy nonprofit, and a slot is available for a technical expert from the commercial fishing industry. 

The workshop will occur in the General Administration Building, Auditorium, 2-5pm.

March 14 - IFSP provides draft report for 5-day review period.

March 26 – IFSP provides final report.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or Steve Thiesfeld if you have any questions.

Jim

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