Friday, July 12, 2013

The Worst Hatchery Program

WDFW Closes Portion of Sol Duc River

First, I have to rant that there seems to be no middle ground with WDFW.  Fisheries are either wide open or closed.  Couldn't they have just closed this section to chinook retention?  Selective gear?  Just lazy management for a non-native hatchery stock of fish.

Why is the Sol Duc Springer hatchery program one of the worst in the state?  First, winter steelhead get no break in fishing pressure (both sport and commercial) during May.  Nets targeting springers kill downstream winter steelhead, and I personally think that a repeat spawning steelhead is more valuable than a non-native hatchery chinook.

But the worst part is the impact this program has on other watersheds.  You might have heard that Olympic National Park closed all fishing in the Hoh River this summer to protect wild chinook in the Hoh.  The Park closed water even as the state has an open springer fishery with bait and barbs in the lower river.  Why is there a fishery on chinook in the Hoh?  Simple, to harvest the Sol Duc hatchery springers that stray into the Hoh.  Not only does this program close water on the Sol Duc but it screws up the management on other rivers too.

All the springer program seems to be good for is tribal netting, killing wild steelhead, guide welfare, and closing waters on two rivers... but they're good to eat.

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