Although the new fishing regulations have
been published and area available, the federal
permit from NOAA/NMFS has not been approved
yet. The Old regs and new ones both list the
Skagit river (lower) as opening for Sockeye
today, and upper river above Rockport as being
open for Chinook.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT SALMON FISHING IN
PUGET SOUND AND ITS TRIBUTARIES IS NOT OPEN
UNTIL THE FEDERAL PERMIT IS APPROVED!
Yesterday I talked with Larry Carpenter
one of our civilian fish and game commissioners
and he said they are still anticipating the
permit will be approved on or around June 24th.
This morning, I talked to Andy Stout one of our
local game wardens and he said they will be out
enforcing the current closed season. Andy said
they have some discretion in how they handle
encounters but it is quite possible that someone
could walk away with a citation. This has been
a difficult process for all involved, but we are
almost at the end of the road. Please be
Fidalgo & SJI Chapter
Puget Sound Anglers
President's Column -
By Ron Garner
June State Board
The Puget Sound Anglers was given an award by WDFW as the "2016 Organization of the Year." This award was for our accomplishments with Kids Fishing Programs, Lobbying, Catch and Releasing Programs, hatchery work, and even working legislature for their funding, and many more accomplishments. Thank you PSA and WDFW! We have gotten involved with them on many levels and helped them in getting things done. Sometimes there are issues we need to deal with that the department is not set up to do. We have made a great partnership on many fronts. We try to bring solutions to the table to fix our fisheries.
WDFW "Organization of the Year Award." In the picture from left to right. PSA VP Kevin Lanier, PSA VP Karl Brackmann, President Ron Garner, WDFW Director Jim Unsworth, Deputy Director
At this awards ceremony, it was announced that WDFW Chief Steven Crown, is leaving the department. He is taking a job east of the mountains. He will be missed. Between Chief Crown and Deputy Chief Mike Cenci, they have kept a real focus on our marine resources. The amount of poaching that has been happening on them is far greater than the average person has a clue of. Seafood prices are at an all time high making it more enticing to poach. It is said that poaching consumes 20% of our natural resources but thought to be much higher-like 40%. Our next chief is going to need to be very marine savvy as the major black markets are not so much in the in game side, but in fisheries. When a single Geoduck can bring as high as $120 each, there is real incentive for poaching to occur. We had several large scale poaching rings that have been busted in the last couple of years. To date none of the tribal offenders have been prosecuted. Large scale poachers need to be in prison no matter who they are. It is an unacceptable crime. We want all poaching stopped recreational, commercial, and tribal. This is an uphill battle. I would like to thank these two fine men for their commendable duty to resource conservation. As we try to manage our resources, it is impossible to do, if massive amounts of the resource are missing. Enforcement is a large part management. In my years of working on fisheries and shellfish issues as an advisor, we were told of all of the different poaching happening in our state. It is mind boggling.
At the time of writing this, we are supposed to have a NOF agreement happening with the tribes for salmon fishing. It's time for change of this NOF process as it is severely broken. It is not working. The tribes received a fishery in May, that NOAA approved. I got this straight from the horse's mouth, Will Stelle, the regional West Coast Administrator. I reminded him that this is a treaty violation and if one side fishes, both fish. The treaty explicitly states this.
We are moving forward with the halibut Catch Record Card for MA 5-13. We went to the commission and director and asked them to duplicate this program with the Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Program. We went through all of this with Crab. No real good accounting until the program that we now is use, went into place. The Puget Sound halibut catch accounting is not accurate. We wrote the halibut straits proposal in 2002 that started in 2003. At that time neither us nor the tribes were taking 10,000 pounds of halibut each. It opened in June when that halibut had migrated back out. We could catch them all day long as bycatch in the straits blackmouth fishery, in February, but not when targeting them in June. Couldn't buy a bite. Moving forward when the tribes got really involved in 2009 on Puget Sound (non ocean) halibut, they really turned the heat up and started taking over 100,000 pounds out of the strait. From then on they discovered the fishery and now race to see if they can catch more halibut than the ocean tribal fishers. Halibut for the tribes is state's share. in other words, it can be caught in the strait or ocean. There is no set poundage for one area over another. So once this started, they go before us and take over 100,000 pounds before we can fish. But our numbers reflect that we are still catching as many or more than before the tribes turned up their game. This is even though we are fishing on less fish. So if we charge a small amount for the halibut catch record card-keeping non-halibut fishers from getting this card, we can get real numbers of halibut fisher's and their catch. When asking years ago what the percentage of Catch Record Cards were used to estimate halibut fishers, it was 25%. In normal years there are 600,00 CRCS issued and in humpy salmon years 700,00. We know that there are not 150,000 halibut fishers so that data is flawed and not used. They have it on graphs to show that if they used it our catch was much higher. We will be able to a more accurate count now on our halibut.
California wants to reopen the 2A halibut catch shares. This is the quota for halibut for California, Oregon, and California. Two years ago California went 50,000 pounds over their small quota. They have found the diamond shaped halibut locally that we catch here. They are high migratory fish. California would open their season on halibut and then count it when it ended. They were going way over. We came down on them hard saying they needed in season management. They resisted and we told them we went from months to a few days here. They get no special treatment. When our WDFW representatives go to the IPHC meeting each year to set the next halibut season, they do not have the Puget Sound Halibut catch accounting. Now California has their in-season management in place and crying fowl at our PS halibut fishery. This stand alone catch record card can help us get this info as I asked for online reporting implemented, due on June 30. This will expedite the accounting. California wants to reopen the halibut catch shares. What does this mean? If this gets opened up, the tribes are going to want to gain more poundage as this is one fishery that they take 35 % of instead of 50%. We are going to have to fight this one tooth and nail. If this gets opened up, what California is going to be given is going to come out of Oregon and Washington. The tribes are not asking for more but if it gets opened up, they will. We need more fish and giving more away is not going to make fishing here any easier.
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