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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its looks like they are going to add another gillnet day for the night of Wednesday August 13th until 7:00 the morning of Thursday August 14th. At least that is what WDFW & ODFW is recommending. Heads up to those planning a trip.

http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/crc/crc12aug03fact.pdf

I wonder how much of it had to do with the gillnetters demanding more fish, particularly the springers next year.

Commercials adamant about more chinook

Thursday, August 7, 2003
By ALLEN THOMAS, Columbian staff writer

Four Columbia River commercial fishing group representatives sent a clear message to Washington and Oregon fisheries officials last week.

They want a bigger share of the river's chinook salmon -- particularly spring chinook and maybe some summer chinook too. They plan to start that campaign Aug. 19 at a meeting in Vancouver.

And state officials appeared sympathetic to the message.

The gillnetters still are chafing mightily from what happened in February and March of 2003.

With runs of 145,400 spring chinook forecast to the upper Columbia and 109,800 to Oregon's Willamette River, the commercial fleet had a catch expectation of about 13,000 spring chinook.

Under a best-case scenario, they might have gotten as many 17,000 Willamette chinook and 800 to 1,500 upper Columbia fish.

Instead, they caught just short of 3,200 salmon before a variety of factors combined to force the commercials off the river, most notably an unexpected early arrival of the protected upper Columbia spring chinook.

It's all very complicated, but there are separate yet interwoven sport-commercial allocation plans for both upper Columbia and Willamette spring chinook. Then there also are provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act, which keep the sport, commercial and tribal fisheries from catching too many wild spring chinook.

To summarize, the split of harvestable Willamette spring chinook was to be 70 percent sport and 30 percent commercial. The split of upper Columbia spring chinook was to be 65 percent sport and 35 percent commercial.


Sharing plan expired

The sport-commercial allocation agreement for upper Columbia fish expired this year, and a new plan for 2004 and 2005 will be developed between August and January.

In terms of number of fish, the commercials caught and kept 3,173 spring chinook in the lower Columbia, plus released 2,494 spring chinook and 2,184 steelhead. The fleet also caught almost 7,500 spring chinook in special fisheries at Blind Slough, Youngs Bay, Tongue Point and Deep River.

Sportsmen kept 16,892 spring chinook in the lower Columbia and released another 9,127 unmarked fish. Another 1,136 were caught and kept from the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools.

What largely influences sport and commercial catches is not the total harvest, but the take of endangered, wild upper Columbia and Snake river spring chinook.

The federal government allows non-Indians to kill no more than 2 percent of the wild spring run. In 2003, the split of those wild fish in just the lower Columbia and its side channels was 51 percent for the sportsmen and 49 percent for the commercials.

But even those numbers are not totally indicative, because they don't include the sport catch in the tributaries. Thousands more spring chinook are caught in the lower Willamette in Oregon and in the Wind River and Drano Lake in Washington.

However the numbers are crunched, the commercials made it clear last week they want a bigger share.


Still smarting

"We still haven't healed up from the damage that occurred in the spring fishery,'' said Jack Marincovich, executive director of the Columbia River Fisheries Protective Union, a commercial fishing group. "It turned out disastrous for us.''

Spring and summer chinook are much more valuable to commercial fishermen than fall salmon, he said.

"If we were allowed in spring 2003 to catch another 10,000 spring salmon the value of those fish is more than all the fish we're going to catch in the fall season,'' Marincovich said. "It just goes to show you how important that spring fishery is to us.''

Gary Soderstrom of Clatskanie, Ore., president of the Columbia River Fisheries Protective Union, said a bright fall chinook earns a gillnetter 50 cents to 70 cents a pound, where a spring chinook garners $4 to $5 per pound.

Jim Wells of Astoria, president of Salmon For All, another commercial group, noted that a good run of 120,000 summer chinook returned to the Columbia River and the commercials got no share, while sport fishing was open.

"There must be something in a 120,000-fish run for a gillnet fishery,'' Wells said.

The commercials should get a summer chinook allocation, which might be used at least as a negotiating tool, he added.

Frances Clark of the Northwest Gillnetters Association said Salmon For All cut a deal with three Vancouver-area sports groups in the spring of 2001 that hurt the commercial fleet.

She said this fall the commercials will be working hard for a larger share next spring.

Bill Tweit of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed the commercials had a tough spring in 2003.

"The recreational fishery came fairly closed to meeting our pre-season goals,'' he said. "The commercial fishery fell woefully short.''

He mentioned "front-end loading'' the commercial fishery more in the future, but added "you may move around who gets hurt.''

A strong run of upper Columbia spring chinook is anticipated in 2004. Although official forecasts will not be done until December, a run in the neighborhood of 250,000 has been mentioned. This year, the run was 208,000.

A meeting to begin discussions of spring chinook sharing between sport and commercial fishermen for 2004 and 2005 begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S. E. Columbia Way.

Allen Thomas covers hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and other outdoor recreation topics for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-759-8054, by e-mail at [email protected] or by writing to P.O. Box 180, Vancouver, 98666.


You should all know that the gillnetters are fighting for greater allocation and they have to take it from Sportsanglers in order to give it to them. Sportsanglers in general are fairly complacent, which could cost us in the future. Do what you can to let the ODFW and WDFW know how you feel. I am convinced without sportsangler input, we will lose some allocation next spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Years ago in the "sports vs. gillnetters" salmon share wrestling match, the sportsanglers where able to pass an initiative or something that made it illegal to gillnet in the Willamette. I believe it carried forward to all Oregon Originated Rivers. This after the gillnetters were successful at removing all their commercial competition from the Columbia (i.e. wheels, traps wier's, etc.) through similar initiatives. Basically a continuation of the the salmon wars. It still stands today.

A lot has evolved since then, but can you imagine netters and sporties sharing the Willamette?
 

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Yes....but if we could get them in and out, targeting hatchery fish, in a tightly controlled area, especially timed for when the water is likely muddy and unfishable....and preferably during night-time blocks....I'm all for it.

Unfortunately, I can't ever see them going away.

TR
 

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See if I have this straight. Gillnetters want to catch more hatchery spring chinook. Those hatcheries are primarily funded by sportsmen, who just lobbied the legislature to raise license and tag fees,to asure the hatcheries stay in business. This looks like the tail wagging the dog to me. How about a sportsmans organization with say 200k members dictating what they want, to the ODFW and WDFW? Where's the economic sense in letting a small but vocal group get what they want? The sport caught salmon industry is titanic in proportion to the 100-150 commercials on the CR.

[ 08-12-2003, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: freespool ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TR, what you are saying in principal makes some sense. But in order to do that you would need to take the "gillnetter" flag and start an initiative to reverse that law. Not to many sporties are going to do that.

Gillnets need to continue their evolution toward extinction. Its time to put away the gillnets and opt for a non-lethal method of commercial harvest. If they embraced the sein nets (I think they are called) or another non-lethal net that allows release of endangered fish, they could have access to their allocation without taking it away from the sporties. Why is this difficult to understand? And tangle nets are not the answer, they continue to kill salmon and way to many steelhead.

Why do they constantly look to the sporties quota as an additional source of fish? We have shortened seasons, closures and restrictions because the commercials refuse to switch to non-lethal nets. By doing so they could avoid all these early quota problems and have a recurring, predicatble commercial harvest.
 

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To be honest... 70/30 split in favor of sports anglers seems way lop sided. It looks like we're just being greedy with the allocations. I might get upset about it, but this is just recreation...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MM, keep in mind there are between 150,000-200,000 angler trips generated from the springer season, just below Bonneville. The split is higher for sport anglers. Netters did not even come close to their allocation because they were catching so many ESA Chinook and Steelhead. That is a self inflicted problem, because gillnets (tanglenets) killed a lot of fish. There is the option to use alternative means of harvest, including non-lethal nets.

The gillnetter allocation is supporting something like 150 gillnetters. Assuming $100 per fish, the entire 2003 harvest put $300,000 into the commercials pockets, or about $2,000 per gillnetter, which is 20 fish. (all reasonable estimates)

By giving more allocation to the nets, we reduce the economic benefit for others whom serve the sportfishing fleet. (i.e. boat builders, tackle shops, gas stations, convenience stores, etc.) How many days does a fishing guide work to equal the same $2,000? About 4, yet most guides are booked throughout the springer season. How many guides make a living off the river? Shorter sporty season, means they lose out. All these businesses benefit from a larger sports season. You take it from one pocket and put it in another. By switching to a non-lethal commercial harvest, both pockets are fuller.

[ 08-12-2003, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: finclipped ]
 

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FinClipped, I understand what you are saying, but I just don't agree... it basically gets down to one gear group/type vs another.
Economically, I don't really see that the sports fleet adds more than a commercial fleet... right now yes, but overall no. Sports seasons are more like tourism... a seasonal pursuit. Commercial fishing creates economies of scale where the multipliers are much much greater.
Looking at the issue like Switzerland, and reading through some of these strings, just seems to me that one group wants more and more.
Just my perspective....
 

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"just recreation"!! Those recreational fish are worth thier weight in gold to the the local economies as compared to what the netters get for them. Shut down the recreational salmon fishery and see how many communities buckle, shut down the commercial gillnet fishery, a krispy kreme donut says you won't miss em'
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I didn't explain myself very well because I see the switch to non-lethal nets as a win-win. Non-lethal netters(would be ex-gillnetters) get access to their allocation and you don't have to take it from the sporties.

As far as economics go, gillnetters are a very small percentage of overall commercial harvest.
I am only looking at the spring salmon fishery on the Columbia, not the overall commercial harvest.

Economic benefit heavily favors the sporties in the spring salmon fishery. It is estimated that every angler day generates an additional $100 in economic spending (bait, gas, boat, guide fees, tackle, whatever else.)

200,000 angler days contributes heavily to the overall economy. ($100*200,000= 20,000,000.)
 

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The netters went over their ESA numbers and took them from the sports numbers. We as sports fishermen gave up allocation so they could net.
The netters came in at about 135% of their allocation of ESA fish. The method they use to catch those fish and when they fished is what caused them to lose numbers. They are the ones that wanted to fish the tide they did so their fish were worth more money, in turn they took more upriver fish, which ment they did not get to fish later in the season, when fish are not worth as much. They got what they wanted and we got "dampened". Let's not have short memories here and for get what went on last spring.

[ 08-12-2003, 05:31 PM: Message edited by: monoman ]
 

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Freespool,

Those hatcheries are primarily funded by sportsmen, who just lobbied the legislature to raise license and tag fees,to asure the hatcheries stay in business.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">I think that's the rub that all the Federal money for hatcheries is due to commercial fishing lobbying. If there was no commercial fishing, then the legal funding for these hatcheries disappears.

Someone can (and I'm sure will <grin>) correct me if I'm wrong but the last time this came up I think the percentage was something like 50% of the Columbia river hatchery fish come from the Federally funded hatcheries.

The sport fishing constituency is a bit, ahem, fractured, and doesn't have the political lobbying power to keep the hatcheries funded if the commercial lobbying is not there.

I still like the idea of skipping the nets and just scooping the fish up at the hatchery and giving them to the licensed commercial fishing people per their allocation. Someday I'll get my hands on a commercial fisherman and ask him if that is a viable solution.

Brion
 

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They got there unions to help back them up. What do we as recreational fisherman have. I buy my license at my local Fred Meyers Store. I cant go up there and complan. My point is, I am tired of sitting on the side lines. I think we need to get some sort of group together and tell the sport fishermans views. Maybe I am all wet and people already do, but seems all we hear about is the Commercial fisherman complaning, seems like they are getting there way. If I had it my way all nets would be out of the river, but thats a biased opinion.
Guess what I am getting at is, is there a group to join to show are side of the view or if I went to a meeting would I be the lone duck expressing my views? I have had so much fun fishing this spring and summer, sure I caught a stealhead on the river lastweekend and my son got two the weekend before. So the nets arent killing my fun. But in my opinion this day in age the nets need to be a thing a the past. Get them a pole like the rest of us. At least the fish have a choose whether to take our bait.

SS
 

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Let them cry
because of them we didn't get a season down here because they caught to many fish(protected) and for that reason we were taken off the river.They should have never been allowed in the river at that time and they knew better and went ahead and fished anyway !!! :mad: :mad:
Bob

BAN ALL GILLNETS !!! on the Columbia River !!!!
 

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We need to elect a leader!!! They get four more ten hour fishing periods from August 18th August 28th. So are we going to wait until they allocate 50/50? Or is the appropriate person going to stand up lead us in an effort to get these guys off our river FOREVER! If there are so few Gillnetters and so many of us we can easily win this battle!! Who is it going to be?


-Bottomfeeder
 

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Steelhead_Scout,

They got there unions to help back them up.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">I think you'll find that the lobbying is by the owners and operators of the boats and processing plants. That's where the funding for the lobbying and legal work comes from. What union did you think was doing lobbying for hatchery funding and pro-salmon legislation?

If you want to do something, I'd suggest joining one of the existing groups that do lobby, NW Steelheaders is one that has a full time lobbyist. You could also join Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. They do a lot of pro-salmon lobbying.

The environmental groups are the others you see lobbying and doing legal work for salmon.

Pick the existing group that suits your point of view.

As an example of the problem sport fishermen have, there were two groups who sued to stop the gillnetting, Washington Trout and Native Fish Society. But these two groups were/are hated by sportfishermen. An odd situation where no other sportfishing group stepped up to the bar but the one's that did received no support from other sport fishing groups.

Shows you how fractious the sport fishing demographic is and why it has trouble lobbying for salmon.

Brion
 

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I can not see myself joining a enviromentalist group but I will look into NW Steelheaders and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.
Thanks for your input.

SS
 

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Welcome to the basasswards NW.
The only place left in the world where freshwater gillnetting is still allowed.
ELECT NO one in the legislature to a 2nd term except (D) Peter Courtney. Hard pill for a republican to swallow gulp !
 

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As an example of the problem sport fishermen have, there were two groups who sued to stop the gillnetting, Washington Trout and Native Fish Society
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Never happened. This statement is incorrect. It has been made before and I can't let it slide this time. <smirk>
GROUPS THREATEN TO SUE FOR MORE WILD STEELHEAD PROTECTION IN LOWER COLUMBIA

The threatened lawsuit was to stop the tangletooth net fishery from going over the 2% allowable mortality rate for steelhead during this last springer season. When NOAA Fisheries, WDFW and ODFW agreed to go back to the 8 inch nets, and forget the tangletooth nets, Washington Trout, Oregon Trout and the Native Fish Society dropped their objections. No lawsuit, only a threat.

Those groups never sued to stop gillnetters. <rolleyes> Since there was a 2 day gillnet season for springers, it's rather obvious that they didn't, isn't it? With all the other CR gillnetting going on, I am surprised that comment was not challenged before. <yawn>
 

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Doggone IT! :mad:

How are people supposed to plan trips and all when they just keep adding days to the commercial slaughter season?

Finclipped, your EXACTLY right when you say - "Sportsanglers in general are fairly complacent, which could cost us in the future. Do what you can to let the ODFW and WDFW know how you feel."

I wonder how ODFW and WF&G would respond if their phone lines were jammed with angry sports anglers
every time they attempted to extend the commercial kill?
 
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