This year is going to be quite the year. We are seeing lots of snow in the mountains which should be good for cooling off the rivers for our salmon. Looking on sea surface temperature charts we are finally seeing colder water in both the ocean and the Puget Sound. Both are surely needed. Mother Nature has been painful on our salmon stocks.
We have had some changes on our WDFW Commission. Conrad Mahnken has fulfilled his time on the commission and was replaced by Barbara Baker. Thank you Connie for all of your help. I personally asked Connie (40 years of background at NOAA) to help us with the Puget Sound Rockfish Recovery. We wanted to make sure this plan was on target and not going to far damaging recreational fishing. A big Thank You to Connie for all of his hard work over 11 years as a Commissioner. Next we have Larry Carpenter whose term also expired in Dec 2016. I was holding off to see if we could announce his reappointment but at the time of writing this, it is not known if he will be reappointed. Larry is the last strong vocal fisheries related seat on the Fish Committee that will stick his neck out for our fisheries. If the Governor decides to not reappoint him this will be trouble. There are rumors that I have gotten from even tribal friends that NWIFC is pushing the Governor to install a tribal person on our commission. This will not work for us and will surely lead to a big war. This happened once before and the appointment only lasted 3 months. It was not a good fit. We would need a person on the NWIFC to be fair. By the time you read this, the appointment schedule for this seat appointment on Jan 25.
NOF 2017 is going to be interesting again. Barry Thom, the new NOAA West Coast administrator had a roundtable meeting in the Sandpoint office. Some of us went and met with him to go over our Puget Sound problems. North of Falcon salmon negotiations, seal and seal lion predation, Washington state needing its own Salmon Permit (we are piggybacked onto the tribes permit) so that we can manage our own salmon fisheries, and other issues were discussed. This tribal ESA salmon take permit gives the tribes trump power over our NOF negotiations. We also talked about many other things to help fix the Puget Sound Fisheries. Barry is a pretty good guy and has taken on a very tough job, but he is willing to listen. We didn't get any commitments but I feel we can work with Barry over time. This is something that has not happened for the last couple of decades with Salmon dealing with NOAA.
WDFW License fee increase is not doing very well. This is an explosive issue. This will take some time to unfold. We need to make sure that hatcheries are well managed and continue to put out fish. We do not need any more hatchery cuts.
Hope you enjoyed the Seattle Boat Show and the Puyallup. PSA is bringing back the Monroe Sportsman Show in Monroe on April 7, 8, 9. We really miss this show. They have a new building since the last show and its called the event center. We plan to grow this show to take over the entire Evergreen Fairgrounds in years to come. Also we have the PSA Polly Fisher All Chapters Derby March 25 & 26 at Port Townsend's Point Hudson Marina. Events will be in the Marina room there.
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