WILLAPA UPDATE & MORE

WILLAPA UPDATE & MORE

Hi all,

What we have here is the latest on Willapa and the attachments are relevant. Progress? Hopefully / maybe your call.

Also below is a recent tribal article that may ................. well do something!

Dave



Hi Everyone,

We are getting close to having a fishery regulation proposal package for the CR-102. We have attached an updated planning model, a summary of suggestions and comments we have heard to-date, and an updated chart for the outer marine recreational boundary.

The planning model utilizes a 4 fish adult bag in Marine Area 2.1 under Willapa Bay rules beginning on July 16th though January 31st. The freshwater regulations are similar to last year’s regulations (4 fish adult bag) except for a couple of changes that are discussed below. The commercial season is similar to what has been suggested by commercial advisors except for the removal of one 12 hour fishery in areas 2T and 2U in statistical week 39 (Sept. 18-24) in order to set aside at least a half a percent in both the Willapa River and Naselle River natural Chinook mortality rates for any Experimental Commercial Fisheries exploring alternative gear.

The first change I want to point out is on the North Nemah River. Currently there are 4 sections in the pamphlet and the second section (from bridge on Nemah Valley Rd to bridge at Nemah Hatchery) does NOT have salmon rules. This year we are considering splitting that second section into 3 smaller sections and each section will have different rules.
1. Bridge on Nemah Valley Rd. upstream to WDFW property line approx. 1.74 miles
a. Will remain closed to salmon (All Game Fish rules only)
2. WDFW property line upstream approx. 160 feet to the bridge at the Nemah Hatchery
a. Will be for Seniors Only (70 years+), Aug. 16 – Jan. 31
3. The bridge at the Nemah Hatchery upstream to the Nemah Hatchery weir
a. Will be for Seniors (70 year+) and ADA access Only, Aug. 16 – Jan. 31
b. The 400 foot closed water restriction will be removed.

Also, there are sections on the Willapa River (Hwy 6 upstream to Fork Creek) and Naselle River (Hwy 4 Bridge upstream to hatchery) that did not open for Salmon until September 16th. These fisheries when open during Chinook timing have been problematic in the past. While this model run has these sections open Aug. 16th through January 31st with a 4 fish adult bag, some consideration should be given to reducing this bag limit to a 2 fish adult bag in these sections to try to minimize some of the issues that have occurred in these areas historically. Additionally, the 400ft closed water restriction downstream from the weir on the Naselle River would be changed to 300 feet.

The second attachment is an updated version of the Marine Area 2.1 boundary line with GPS coordinates.

The third attachment is a list of all of the fishery season comments we’ve received as of April 6, 2016 either from the Advisory or public meetings or emails.

As a reminder of our APA process, we will likely have three separate CR-102 filings this year; WB commercial, GH Commercial, and Coastal Freshwater. The Marine Area WAC (220-28-620) will be filed through the folks in Olympia since most of this WAC includes Ocean Marine Areas. We will just provide our changes to them. The Coastal Freshwater WAC most likely will be a bit delayed due to on-going co-manager negotiations in Grays Harbor and the North Coast that may last beyond PFMC this week. As soon as Grays Harbor and North Coast changes are incorporated and formatted, the Coastal Freshwater WAC can be filed in CR-102.

If you have any other suggestions you want to provide or any comments regarding any of the suggestions listed in these attachments, please send those to both Chad Herring and myself.
Thanks. Barbara

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Barbara McClellan
Area Fish Biologist | Willapa Bay
WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife| Region 6 Montesano
office #360.249.1213 | cell #360.470.3459| fax #360.249.1229
Email: Barbara.Mcclellan@dfw.wa.gov


Tough Times Mean Hard Decisions in Planning Fishing Seasons
Lorraine Loomis, Chair Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission | 4/6/16

Tough times call for hard decisions, and we are facing some of the most difficult times we’ve ever seen when it comes to this year’s expected coho returns to western Washington.

After last year’s disastrous coho run, the tribal and state co-managers are taking the drastic step of considering a zero option for salmon fishing off the Washington coast and in Puget Sound.

Coho returns in most areas last year were less than half of what was expected. Those that returned displayed the effects of poor ocean conditions: warmer-than-normal water and less nutritious food for salmon. Most were 20 to 30 percent smaller than normal. Females returned with about 40 percent fewer eggs. That will result in a huge drop in both natural and hatchery production in the years to come.

The tribal and state co-managers need a full range of options – including no fishing at all – as we work to craft limited fisheries to meet basic needs over the next month. We hope it doesn’t come to that. Our cultures, treaty rights and economies depend on salmon. But the resource must come first.

We don't know how many coho will be coming back, how healthy they will be or how many eggs the females will have. We have never seen runs this low, so we don't know how well they might bounce back. That’s why zero must be the starting place for fisheries management planning this year.

Both hatchery and naturally spawning coho are in the same boat this year because both are equally affected by poor ocean conditions. In many instances, returns will likely be far below minimum levels needed to produce the next generation of salmon.

The Nisqually Tribe’s Kalama Creek Hatchery and the state’s Wallace River and Minter Creek hatcheries likely won’t even come close to reaching egg-take goals. It will be a nail-biter for many other hatcheries.

We must reduce impacts on returning hatchery fish to maximize returns to some facilities so we can meet egg shortfalls at others. Tribes are evaluating possible impacts from cherished ceremonial and subsistence fisheries that are a cornerstone of our cultures. That’s because every impact matters, whether from mark selective sport fisheries targeting hatchery salmon in marine waters to in-river trout fisheries that impact both hatchery and naturally spawning coho.

With plenty of good habitat, salmon populations are naturally resilient and able to withstand the impacts of poor ocean conditions. But today we are losing salmon habitat faster than it can be restored and the trend shows no signs of change. As a result, low returns are getting lower and returns for healthy populations are declining, too. The overall trend points in only one direction: downward.

We are in a situation where every year each returning salmon is becoming more and more important. The room for error continues to shrink. Even small mistakes can have huge consequences in times like these. That’s why conservation must be the first rule of fisheries management.

We don’t know what the future holds for the salmon and us, but we do know that we cannot sacrifice tomorrow’s salmon for today’s harvest. Those fish belong to the generations that will follow us.

 

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