National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced
the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
for Puget Sound early winter steelhead hatchery production
as part of its review process for Hatchery Genetic
Management Plans (HGMPs) submitted by the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Puget Sound
treaty tribes. The
proposed HGMPs must be approved by NOAA Fisheries under the
Endangered Species Act (ESA) and apply to steelhead
production in the Dungeness, Nooksack, Stillaguamish,
Skykomish, and Snoqualmie River basins.
The Wild Fish
Conservatory will be making input to shut down these
hatcheries. Members of PSA and CCA need to make an impact by
submitting as many responses as possible.
NOAA Fisheries is
accepting public comments on the DEIS through December 28,
can learn more about the DEIS and HGMPs by
Comments can be submitted electronically by email to EWShatcheriesEIS.email@example.com
If you submit comments by email, include "EWS Hatcheries
DEIS" in the subject line. A prepared response done by an
avid fisherman and advocate has been prepared National Marine Fisheries Service Response which
can be sent by mail to:
William W. Stelle, Jr.
NMFS West Coast Region
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
President's Column -
By Ron Garner
I hope everyone was able to
get out and enjoy our
outdoors this last summer.
It sure was a strange year.
As you may or may not know
that PSA is actively engaged
in management and season
setting of our fisheries at
many levels. So what's going
on in our waters?
This last year there were
many things that were
abnormal. We are looking at
setting one of the highest
crab catches on record. Why
is the biomass so high in
some areas? I had a talk
with several WDFW biologists
to ask if they had any ideas
why. One idea was that the
Sunstar die off might have
lower competition for food
as well as not directly
attacked by the star fish
too. This thought had never
crossed my mind.
Mid October I was invited to
sit in a meeting with the
Upper Skagit tribe. They
reported that the week
before, Sockeye were coming
in really thick on the
Skagit. Huh? July fish
coming through in October?
Did the warm ocean hold them
back? 50,000 Sockeye for the
run at that date. I am sure
many speculations had
already been made about that
run and its management, then
BANG, here comes the run.
What else is there to come?
They said they had lots of
Chinook coming in too.
Westport had an early summer
anchovy mass that showed up
down by the GH Buoy. They
held there for weeks. Whales
were out there gulping them
down. Chinook were there and
fishing was hot. Then one
day they disappeared. After
that it got challenging to
find them. They seemed to
disappear. We were catching
our Chinook in August out in
270' of water right on the
bottom and the fish were
full of large pink shrimp.
No bait fish in them.
another non-normal event.
Shows that fish will adapt
to survive, despite what
some people will try to tell
Inside the Puget Sound there
is so much bait now it is
crazy. I talked with some of
the Puget Sound herring bait
companies. They said early
in the year that the bait
stayed really deep and would
not come up, even at night.
So bait was nonexistent at
that time, until the water
cooled off. They are calling
for us to have some pretty
nice blue and purple sized
herring next year.
We have tanner crab in the
San Juans and Strait of Juan
de Fuca. They are not only
doing well but expanding.
They are the Snow crab you
see on "Deadliest Catch" on
TV. Mostly on TV it's the
Opilio crab. We have the
Bairdi cousin. These are
normally in very cold water.
For some reason these are
doing better here than in
BC. I have built pots and
caught them myself. They are
really deep but don't fit
the warming water that we
keep hearing about. It
should be the opposite.
With the weird things going
on we still have a lot of
opportunity. Now the winter
season is upon us, try to
get out crabbing and
blackmouth fishing. It's one
of my favorite fisheries of
the year. Less pressure and
blackmouth are really great
fighters. Be sure to get
your family and friends out
on the water and enjoy our
resources. See you on the
water and be safe. Join one
of the local 16 chapters and
make new friends. We are
the true conservationists in
Washington that use common
sense to deal with our
fisheries. Join your local
chapter today and be part of
the solution. We understand
today’s problems and are
working together for a
If enjoy Puget Sound and Snohomish River Coho fishing or enjoy helping enhance
recreational opportunities please read on!
I'm Kelli Mack from the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club. We took over a
private salmon hatchery back in 2009 and got it back into operational condition.
To date we have raised and released over 240,000 Coho into the Snohomish River
system and currently have 88,000 more on hand to release next spring.
The eyed-eggs we receive are surplus hatchery fish, which if not kept local,
would be sent away to distant fisheries. We keep these fish in their home river
system, enriching our catching opportunities.
Although it's functional the hatchery is in need upgrades to ensure the safety
of eggs, fry, and smolt as we nurture them along their life-cycle.
Please help by making a tax deductible contribution to the campaign Snohomish &
Puget Sound Coho Fishing Enhancement going on now on Indiegogo here: Coho
Hatchery Fundraiser Link
Coho fishing in 2013 was almost 8 times better than in 2010 according to a
comparison of creel checks at the Everett Public Ramp.
Did you know that some yelloweye rockfish
that are here today were Washington residents before it became a
state in 1889? They have been and continue to be an important
part of our heritage.
Halibut and bottomfish fishing have also
been a part of Washington’s culture for hundreds of years. Many
generations of fishermen have relied on halibut and bottomfish
for food and recreation.
A recent stock assessment indicates that
the yelloweye rockfish population has declined over 80% from its
initial level. As a result, immediate action must be taken if
the stocks of these long-lived fish are to be rebuilt.
To rebuild yelloweye rockfish populations,
the harvest opportunities for this species must be severely
curtailed. In recent years, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council has set yelloweye rockfish harvest levels for all
commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries combined for
California, Oregon, and Washington of about 17 metric tons (mt).
This number includes yelloweye rockfish that are discarded at
The Washington recreational harvest target
is about 2.7 mt (fewer than 1,000 fish) in coastal waters. To
put this in perspective, in 2001, the Washington recreational
fishery harvested 15 mt.
Yelloweye rockfish, in general, are harvested during the
Washington recreational halibut fishery. If the yelloweye
rockfish catch is projected to exceed 2.7 mt, then Pacific ocean
waters adjacent to Washington outside 25 fathoms will be closed
to recreational bottomfish fishing (including halibut).
If yelloweye rockfish cannot be avoided when anglers are
targeting halibut, then we may have to close recreational
halibut fishing in the future to protect yelloweye rockfish.
Because the yelloweye rockfish stock may not be rebuilt for over
100 years, the problem of managing the yelloweye fishery will
continue through our lifetime; however, you have the ability to
help save the halibut fishery now and preserve the yelloweye
resource for the future.
Live to be 120 years old
Range extends from Mexico to Alaska
Found in deeper, rocky bottom areas
Slow growing,low productive species
Reddish-orange in color with bright yelloweye
Commonly called "red snapper"
Often spend their entire lifetime on one rockpile
How You Can Help
If you are participating in the recreational halibut or
bottomfish fishery, please avoid areas that are known to
have yelloweye rockfish.
If you do accidentally catch a yelloweye, please return
to the water s soon as possible.
Help spread the word to others about the severity of the
yelloweye rockfish depleted population and the possible
consequences of not avoiding yelloweye areas
If you do not know what areas may have yelloweye
rockfish, please consult a local resort, motel, or charter
office or other expert before fishing