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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 16, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Dangers to salmon recovery: Loss of salmon habitat to blame, not gill-netting

Ron Judd used just about every stereotype and mischaracterization of treaty tribal salmon fisheries in his article that appeared in Pacific NW Magazine [“40 years after Boldt, the fight goes on over fewer and fewer fish,” Feb. 7].

All fisheries, including mark-selective sport fisheries, incidentally kill non-targeted species. We manage fisheries so that they do not exceed an acceptable level of incidental mortality.

Judd’s gill net tirade ignores the fact that they are highly selective by time, place and mesh size. Nets are in the water only for a limited time and are used mostly near river mouths and bays where they can target sustainable runs of returning salmon.

All fishermen lose gear at times. If anyone sees a lost net, they should contact their nearest tribal fisheries department or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Tribes keep close track of their harvests through the Treaty Indian Catch Monitoring Program. Tribal “fish tickets” record fisherman information as well as the number, species and weight of fish harvested, and other information. The tribes share the information with state fishery managers on a same-day basis.

The battle for salmon recovery is being lost for one main reason: Salmon habitat is disappearing faster than we can restore it. No amount of harvest reductions, hatchery production or change in fishing methods can make up for that fact.

The treaty Indian tribes are leading the fight for salmon recovery. We bring funding, operate hatcheries, conduct research, restore and protect habitat and share traditional knowledge of local watersheds to benefit everyone who lives in Washington.

Billy Frank Jr., chairman, NW Indian Fisheries Commission

0 Comments | More in Fishing | Topics: Billy Frank Jr., Gill net, NW Indian Fisheries Commission

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