CBB, Jan. 27, 2017, “Oregon Harvest Reforms Differ From Washington In How Much
Gillnetting Allowed” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438251.aspx
From Bill Bakke:
have a few comments regarding the recent article on the Bi-State harvest plan
for the lower Columbia River. I read
through the recent article (1-27-17) and the 1-19-17 article but was unable to
find a description that explains the harvest allocation is limited to the
allowed kill of ESA listed salmon and steelhead. In future articles this should
be included as boiler plate, including the ESA impact percentage that
non-Indian harvesters are allowed.
Otherwise your readers may conclude that the harvest impact is on the
whole run rather than limited to ESA impacts.
your 1-27-17 article it is quoted in the adopted policy of 2013 that the
“policy was designed to promote conservation of salmon and steelhead…” In your 1-19-16 article it states: “At
today’s meeting, the Commission will consider a long-term staff proposal that
would prioritize the conservation benefits of fisheries reform…”
though a conservation policy is mentioned repeatedly, I have been unable to
read just what that policy would do to protect ESA-listed species. Since wild and ESA listed species return to
their natal streams to spawn, it would be reasonable to establish an escapement
goal by species for each natal area (mainstem and tributaries) in the Columbia
River. Harvest should be regulated to
provide such escapement goals. The plan
and resulting policies by the states of Oregon and Washington, however, treat
harvest as allocation among user groups but provide no allocation to spawning
escapement. When this plan was being
developed I testified that the first allocation should be for spawning
escapement and the allocation among user groups would be managed to achieve
that spawner escapement. Otherwise
harvest has little relationship or consequences relative to conservation. The states and NMFS have created a management
plan that is constructed of boxes that are not interconnected, allowing
consequences to be overlooked. That
suggests, at least to me, that management is not organized to address harvest
and hatchery impacts on an integrated salmonid ecosystem.
Holly Akenson provided the Commission with her perspective on finalizing the
Columbia River Fisheries Reform Policy on January 20, 2017. She gets it.
She said, “The number of endangered fish incidentally killed by the
combination of fisheries does not change with changing allocations. A dead fish
is a dead fish, whether it is killed by a gill net, alternative gears, or hook
and line recreational fishers. In other words, an allocation change itself does
not provide additional conservation benefits to ESA listed fish survival.
need to focus more on conservation of ESA listed species and other wild stocks
and less on allocation changes. The sooner listed species can be recovered, the
sooner all fisheries will experience less limitations on harvest
her perspective may be ignored by ODFW staff and the Commission. We will see.
However, discussing the conservation issues related to this harvest plan
would be an important contribution to the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
Bill Bakke, Portland, Oregon.