Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gold Rush in Thar Hills

Good thing we can damage our fish bearing streams for Chinese pallet manufacturers. 

Chinese demand boosting Peninsula log exports to ‘astronomical’ levels

"The phenomenon has boosted the wood products industry on the North Olympic Peninsula, he said, because it’s allowed for timber harvests that wouldn’t be happening otherwise.

It’s a bit of a gold rush mentality right now,” Stutesman said.

I don’t know when it will change, but let’s hope it doesn’t.....

The wood that’s going there . . . is primarily for forming material that they use to make the concrete housing units, also for packaging and pallet material.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

No Sh** Sherlock

Another Hatchery Study shows Negative Impacts

Will this be the study that makes us rethink our reliance on hatcheries?

It is amazing how the science seems to be crystal clear on the impacts on all hatchery programs and yet it is the first thought that comes to mind to bring back wild fish.

If hatcheries were the solution we wouldn't have a problem.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sustainable Steelhead?

An interesting post on the Patagonia site about the Seafood Summit in Vancouver got me thinking about ways to work with tribal fishers and work around the current lack of action coming from WDFW.

Here's a quote from the above link:
"But, citing Patagonia’s experience with the cotton industry, Chouinard also talked about market-based solutions that work with harmful industries to force improvement from within. Still more grumbling, but it set a tone that made for lively discussion throughout the week. There seems to be strong agreement among many of the conservation NGOs I spoke with that the kind of market-based solutions Chouinard is promoting are by far the most effective way to create positive change. Certainly something to be hopeful about."

Could a market based solution be helpful in increasing steelhead runs?  I do not have the exact answer but it might be time to take a chance and change the dynamic.  Could non-profit groups work with the tribes to allow the non-tribal 50% to be used however we wish, including increasing spawning abundance?  Could we work to make sure fishing plans are in place before seasons begin?  Could we work to reduce interception on early timed fish and restore lost diversity?

It might be possible by using a carrot instead of a hammer.  Could tribes on rivers managed for steelhead abundance be allowed to sell their steelhead as "sustainable"?  With the decline of stocks all along the west coast and no steelhead stock currently defined as sustainable by any organization, could this allow tribes who work with non-governmental conservation organizations to sell their product without the protests and also sell it for a higher price.

Of course, selling this to the angling public will probably be just as hard as selling it to the tribes.  Wild steelhead are a holy grail of NW angling and many would like to see zero harvest on all sides of wild steelhead.  In my dreams I would like to see this too.  Of course, the reality is that the tribes will continue to net and sell steelhead commercially.  We will continue to send letters and e-mails to restaurants and fish buyers who buy wild steelhead.  This will continue and continue with wild runs continuing to decline.  It might be time to work with the tribes to create a situation that is perfect for neither side but might hold more hope for more steelhead than trusting WDFW to do anything to actually increase wild runs.

Something to think about at least.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How things have changed

I got a chance to read a recent article in the Tacoma paper about "fly fishing" for steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.

Link to TNT Article

Here are some quotes.

"I could see it was a steelhead, bringing a smile to my face. I also noticed something amiss – I had foul hooked the fish in the tail. That explained why the fairly small fish was putting up such a fight....I was now 0-for-2."

"Fancy flies aren’t always necessary to catch steelhead. A plastic bead and a bare hook often do just as well."

You decide whether this type of article is good for steelhead, the pressure on the West End rivers, or gives an accurate picture of fly fishing for winter steelhead.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steelhead Summit Alliance

Yesterday was the Steelhead Summit in Seattle.  It was a great meeting with the focus on concerns over the hatchery supplementation during and after the Elwha River Dam removal.

It was great to meet some new faces and BS with some familiar faces.  The highlight for me was listening to Bruce Brown speak.  I remember reading "Mountain in the Clouds" almost twenty years ago and it having a huge impact on my beliefs about wild fish and the important role they play.  In times where good news about wild fish is often hard to find, it was interesting listening to him describe the way fish managers and most people thought about salmon in the late 70's - early 80's.  This was a time where wild fish and genetic diversity were not even considered in management decisions.  Hatcheries were not questioned by the vast majority of scientists, managers, or anglers.  How things have changed.  Consumers are more educated about wild fish in the marketplace.  Wild fish are much more valued by all of the varying interest groups.  There's a long way to go in getting the actual changes made on the ground, but the battle of the minds has almost been won when it comes to wild fish and diversity.  I hope in the next few decades we see the on the ground changes in management that will actually help us restore some of the lost wild fish diversity.

As I was getting ready to leave I realized that the two authors who have had the most impact on me as an angler were standing only a few feet apart.  It was an honor to be able to speak with both Bruce Brown and Bill McMillan.

It was another great opportunity for interested parties to learn more about the issues and have questions answered by the sources.  Thanks to all involved for putting together another great Steelhead Summit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Root for Wild Fish

...and root against me. 

I have decided to combine a couple passions, one of which I have been ignoring for far too long.  I have signed up for the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon on June 5th.  I will be donating a dollar for every minute it takes me to finish (with one hour being equal to $100) to a group of native fish conservation groups (Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Hoh River Trust, and the Wild Fish Conservancy).