What a busy year it has been for our fisheries. Starting with the 10 year Puget Sound Chinook Management plan going upside down, and the WDFW Director losing his job over it. He just was not fully engaged to the point of understanding the entire picture, signed off on what would have collapsed the Puget Sound fishing with its businesses, and what it did to his constituents. Did you know that this plan was so bad that one of my friends businesses had 6 boat building orders cancelled and checks returned, to selling over 32 boats with the boat show, when the director resignation came out? That was in a very short time! Our businesses that support our fisheries were going to collapse. Puget Sound Anglers was a giant part of stopping this. We have a very engaged set of hardworking men and women that truly care. All deserve a big thank you.
Next on to the Pacific Salmon Treaty that still is in limbo. This is a treaty between US and Canada or really Alaska, BC, and lower 48 west coast. It is not going well. While we are fighting for fish down here so are our neighbors to the north wanting our fish. This is the time the tribes and us are in the same boat and that is that we are the last in line to harvest what is left of our fish. It's time that we take a stand together to oppose the northern fisheries taking most of our fish. We have more in common than ever before.
Our Orcas are exposing the problem we as fishers have known for years. We are no longer producing enough fish to support our ecosystem. We have far too many predators wiping out our salmon. Between birds and pinnipeds they are doomed unless we can remove some of them from the system. NOAA has said that a minimum of 10 Million smolts are being consumed in the Puget Sound before they make it out in the salt.
At the North of Falcon Meeting in Lynnwood this year, our tribes came into the room with us. This was a planned Plenary Session. It went far better than I could have ever hoped. NWIFC Chair Lorraine Loomis and Director Craig Bowhay started off with the loss of habitat in our region. It is going away faster than it is being rebuilt. We agree with them. We have the largest building boom in the United States with more and more people moving into our region it is going to be tougher to rebuild. We were up to talk shortly after as PSA was largely in attendance at this meeting. We welcomed all of our tribal friends. I started off that we agreed with them about loss of habitat effecting ng our fisheries. We brought us that we all have something in common and that was that all of in the room were probably the only ones that understood that predation on our salmon by cormorants and pinnipeds were wiping out our fisheries and that the other 90% of Washington's residents (nonfishers) have no idea that these predators are killing off our salmon at unrecoverable rates and it not being addressed anywhere but us that know that it is going on.
We also followed up with the Pacific Salmon Treaty and that Alaska is digging its heels in and not willing to give up any fish. Alaska takes a lot of BC fish therefore BC takes ours. Alaska also takes quite a few of our fish too. The tribes once again nodded their head in agreement.
We are being effected with the same issues as the tribes. Our predation issues are not being addressed nor will be fixed until the public understands that we are losing our s0almon and that is hurting our orcas. PSA invited them to build a coalition with us to deal with this and our neighbors to the north that our taking over 60% of our salmon. Washington State's tribes, commercials and recreationals are at the end of the road where ESA is paid for. The deck is stacked against us and its time that we work together and fix the mess we have in this state.
This was the best meeting I have ever attended between us and the tribes. We were oin full agreement on our issues and understand that we are at the eindd of our fisheries if we do not work together and fix our issues. I did a follow up call with Chair Loomis after the meeting and was invited to come and talk at the NWIFC in May for next steps. We are in total agreement with our issues and it's time to band together.
Our Puget Sound Fishing seasons will be better than last year in some areas. I hope you and your family take the time to go fish on our salmon stocks. Thats what we work so hard to do is keep us all fishing. Join your local PSA Chapter.
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