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Selective Salmon Fishing and New Protections for Rockfish

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: Selective Salmon Fishing and New Protections for Rockfish Reply with quote

- Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

Selective fishing, Rockfish changes

Ive been thinking quite a bit lately, about the May edition of this column, as April offered a number of events to dissect, while offering plenty to consider in the ďfishĒ world for the month of May.

Letís take a look over our shoulder to this past month, beginning with the conclusion of the annual salmon setting process on Friday, April 16. A number of good things happened during this process, including the expansion of selective fishing for chinook beginning in mid-June in ocean waters and in the late summer fishery in Willapa Bay for both sport and gillnetters.

Selective fishing, a fish management buzz word, simply means that anglers can keep hatchery produced adipose fin-clipped salmon while releasing wild fish. Selective fishing began its evolution for coho salmon in the ocean in the late 90ís and continues to march through many areas for chinook salmon too. I am a believer in selective fishing as it provides protection for wild salmon, in need of conservation while allowing anglers to go fishing for millions of hatchery produced salmon. After all, thatís why we have salmon hatcheries: to produce fish for fisheries. Washington is considered a leader, nationally, for selective fishing and I am convinced it is the right tool in the tool box to protect wild chinook and coho salmon while continuing to access hatchery produced fish.

You may have heard or read about the Muckleshoot tribeís rejection of selective fishing expansion in Elliott Bay and the Green River, which, from my corner, is the only negative outcome in the recently completed salmon season process. It is somewhat complicated as the tribe attempts to keep hatchery and wild chinook managed under the same tent. And, as a result of their ďjust say noĒ philosophy to separate hatchery fish from wild fish, there will be no selective fishery in the Bay or the Green River this year.

In the meantime, wild chinook stocks returning to Elliott Bay and the Green River will be pounded by this tribe at a rate harmful to protecting and restoring this unique run of fish. Incredibly, the fed looks the other way and the tribe gets its way. Shameful.

Speaking of NOAA-Fisheries, you may also have learned about an announcement by this agency a few days ago regarding the ESA listing of three Puget Sound rockfish species. Many of us who are involved in advisory groups with the WDFW knew this conservation announcement was coming. Sadly, a Seattle Times environmental reporter botched this story, misdirecting the blame of the decline of Puget Sound rockfish species on sport fishing. Irresponsibly, he did not report on the science provided by the fed and WDFW suggesting that sea lions, harbor seals and submerged abandoned gillnets, known as ghost nets are by far, the primary culprit. I donít get how this reporter missed this story. A better career such as selling Kiaís in Puyallup may be a better career fit for him. Again, shameful.

Fish managers at WDFW have been working on implementing sport fishing measures with the sport fishing community this past winter providing protection to Puget Sound rockfish. The new regulations are effective on May 1st and eliminate rockfish in the bottomfish daily bag limit along with fishing for marine fish (excluding halibut) in waters greater than 120 feet deep. Check out the new sport fishing regulation pamphlet which hit the streets a few days ago to learn more about these restriction designed to protect Puget Sound rockfish.

May is a great month to get outside on the water, chasing halibut, lingcod and shrimp in marine waters from Sekiu to Puget Sound. Itís also prime time for spring chinook salmon in several key tributaries of the lower Columbia River.

Do not overlook May for many other shellfish species including oysters and hardshell clams. Many consider May as the best month to sneak up on oysters and clams, as biologically, they are plump and in their prime in anticipation of the mid-summer spawn.

Iíve got a full schedule of outdoor activities in May which serves as a prelude to the big show this summer. Next month, Iíll break down some incredible fishing opportunities in June, July and August. See you on the water.
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Captain Walker
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plan your entire summer season with
Planning for Salmon Season in the Northwest
Captain David Walker

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