The Native Fish Society is partnering with the Steelhead Society of British Columbia to raise awareness of a plan to loosen the rules in place surrounding the salmon net fisheries, which currently limit the bycatch of Thompson steelhead.
Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is suggesting a change to current regulations that protect steelhead in their new Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for 2014-2015.
Read more and sign the NFS petition here.
From Judge Haggerty: “It is undisputed that hatchery operations can pose a host of risks to wild fish…it is clear that the Sandy River Basin is of particular importance to the recovery of the four [Endangered Species Act] listed species and is an ecologically critical area.” He said that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policies Act when it approved the State of Oregon’s management of the Sandy River Hatchery.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comment on a proposal to eliminate hatchery steelhead plants as early as next year in three Lower Columbia River tributaries (EF Lewis, Green/NF Toutle and Wind Rivers) to support the recovery of wild fish. These three watersheds would join the Sol Duc River as Washington State Wild Steelhead Gene Banks.
The elimination of hatchery plantings in these three watersheds is the recommendation of three stakeholder groups convened by WDFW over the past two years. Gene Banks are part of actions endorsed by the state of Washington’s 2008 Statewide Steelhead Management Plan and were mandated by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect wild steelhead in the Lower Columbia.
Wild Steelhead Gene Bank designation does not close a watershed to angling, but does create restrictions placing the priority on the health of the wild populations, not angling opportunity. Establishing Gene Banks would be a solid first step toward limiting the negative impacts of hatchery fish on threatened wild populations in the Lower Columbia.
Comments and suggestions collected during this public process will eventually be submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service who oversee the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead populations.
We ask that you let WDFW and NMFS know that you support management actions that implement the best-available science and recover threatened wild steelhead populations in Washington. Read and alter the comments below as you wish, but please make your voice heard in support of protections for wild steelhead.
[TAKE ACTION HERE] – it will only take you a minute or two to sign it.
Via the Native Fish Society’s most recent email newsletter, ODFW’s second-draft Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan calls for expanding wild steelhead harvest to additional Oregon coastal watersheds (page 16):
- Yaquina’s Big Elk Creek
- Siuslaw’s Lake Creek
- SF Coos
- NF Coquille
- EF Coquille
Our resident scientist Neil Thompson says on first glance it looks like the plan suggests a one-wild-a-day and two-wild-fish-per-year bag limit (page 22), and also proposes a host of hatchery program eliminations and some additions for winter steelhead (page 13 and 14).
Read the details for yourself. We’d suggest that the draft plan come with some kind of legend so regular folks can decipher what it says.
There is a lot to dig through, but this is the opportunity for fishermen to voice their policy preferences for future management. Find information on upcoming meetings and comment opportunity at ODFW’s Coastal Management Plan website.