PSA State Board President Message for July by Ron Garner
Hope your summer is full of great fishing, crabbing, and shrimping. Although by the time you read this, your local salmon fishing probably will be open for C&R Chinook. If you are in the San Juans or Ocean you should be fishing for Chinook to catch and keep. I know it has been very hard to understand what is going on with our local salmon fisheries. It has been one of the biggest fights we have endured for many years. I have been asked if we had to do North of Falcon all over again would we have not done the agreement. Yes is the answer as there would have been no summer salmon fishing from Olympia to Port Townsend. We could not take this deal. It is time to talk with the tribes about working together to get the state and feds to make more fish. This is one common goal that I think we can do a better job in upping hatchery production. More fish would make negotiating much easier. One of our real problems is Alaska taking too many Washington fish.
Crabbing is expected to be very good again this year in most areas. Take full advantage of this and get the family out on the water to enjoy it. We also have an additional bonus shrimp fishery in Marine Area 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and MA 7W in the San Juans. Both of these places have a large amount of spot shrimp that we are not taking. So this year the WDFW Shellfish managers decided it would be good starting June 1 to up the quota to 160 per person, per day. This is an area where you do need to weight your pots heavily, as in 30 pounds or more. Especially those banks in the straits. You have to be there when the tide goes slack to do the best. The tide charts can be off as much as 45 minutes to 2 hours. Give yourself extra time before slack tide is supposed to start. This is one of my favorite fisheries. Currents in the Strait and San Juans are very big and can easily sweep your pot away or bury your buoys.
Tanner Crab or Snow Crab is being added to the regulations as we have them here in some areas. Most people do not know it. I have not perfected it yet as what depth there are at what time of year. They are way deeper than Dungeness mostly and in the mud.
One issue we might need your help on is the Skokomish River Hatchery. At this time the Skokomish Tribe is not going to allow us to fish on the river. These fish coming from our hatchery should be available for us to catch. There is a possible rally that we might need to meet out there at the George Adams hatchery on July 30. We will have an announcement coming out if we cannot come to an agreement with the tribe. We cannot allow for our rivers to be closed to us one by one.
I hope you are enjoying those free Seaqualizer Rockfish Descenders that we have been handing out. Our PSA Education, Fisheries, and Conservation chapter has gotten grants from WDFW, NOAA, and others to purchase these to get them into your hands. Our Puget Sound Rockfish are still under protection. Yelloweye and Boccacio are going to stay on the ESA listing. Canary Rockfish are going to be removed from the ESA listing. They found that these rockfish are genetically the same as the ones in the ocean. This is a great news! When something gets ESA listed it is very hard to get it removed. This is in the process now.
NOAA's Puget Sound Rockfish Recovery Team is finalizing their findings and plan to rebuild those two stocks of ESA listed rockfish. They are sending the plan to Washington DC for review. Then in a couple of months, it will be our chance to comment/make changes on the plan. I can tell you that the area they are the most concerned is the San Juans and Eastern Strait as the highest priority. Marine Reserves/no fishing zones will be part of their recommendation. But, we are not the problem. Tribal long lining was shown as the big threat. Our rockfish descender program has worked wonders. We are continually working on this as Rockfish is the canary in the coal mine to shut down all fisheries. Rockfish cannot repopulate in a marine reserve if Lingcod are present, which they are. NOAA just sent out a public announcement stating this. We have been telling government authorities this for years. Lingcod have to be plucked out of areas to allow rockfish to recover. Once they get larger, they are not as susceptible to be eaten by large lingcod. We are investigating lures or fishing practices that Lingcod would take that ESA listed rockfish would not. This could be another tool in our tool box.
Hopefully our Coho will rebound after last year's warm blob in the ocean. The June rains returning this year will certainly help in keeping everything from drying out for a while. This should help retain snowpack for the rivers for the fish runs with the cooler weather. Hot temperatures in April and May are devastating later if we do not have heavy rains to help the salmon up the river.
Hope you have a great summer so get out and enjoy your fisheries. By the way, WDFW Enforcement is trying to clean up the rules for traveling back and forth to BC to make it easier for you. Thanks WDFW!
God luck fishing! Join your local PSA Chapter and take a kid fishing!
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