Friday, April 30, 2010

Kudos to ODFW...Sort Of

Bet you never thought I would give any "atta boys" to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on this blog did you? Well to show I am not a complete asshole when it comes to ODFW I thought I would give credit where credit is is why I am patting ODFW on the back.
I attended a public meeting in Tillamook, put on by ODFW, to discuss fall chinook on the north Oregon coast and specifically the Nestucca, Nehalem and Tillamook watersheds.
Chris Knutsen and Robert Bradley did a good job at presenting the facts and the facts do not bode well for the salmon in the Nestucca and Nehalem systems. I feel that the Tillamook ODFW regional office did the best job possible with a somewhat hostile crowds of sports anglers in getting the point across that if there isn't some serious cutbacks in season we may be looking disaster in the face for future runs of chinook salmon.
The public in attendance were about 95% against any curtailment. They feel the salmon are their fish to plunder. To say that there were some real selfish and ignorant people there would be an understatement but Knutsen and Bradley handled it well.
The two of us that were there to represent conservation both agreed that it was a tough situation but the best possible scenarios, short of complete closure, were offered and I really think that the best interest of the fish was the main concern by ODFW in those two watersheds. Unfortunately the majority present did not agree.
So if any of you are planning to visit the northern coast of Oregon for some prime fall chinook season any time soon take your wife to Hawaii instead.
Okay enough of the kumbaya thing with ODFW because I do have some sharp criticism for their plan for the Tillamook watershed. With terrible returns predicted for the Nestucca and Nehalem systems ODFW felt compelled to actually double the annual bag limit for the Tillamook streams.
Last year the seasonal limit was 5 wild fish with a daily limit of 1. This fall they doubled that to 10! They say the runs look better for the Wilson, Trask and Kilchis rivers for 2010. I certainly hope they are right but I suspect that since the Tillamook streams are the ones that get the heaviest angling pressure and generate the most revenue for Tillamook county they were pressured to increase the bag limit and dwindling populations be damned!
Of course ODFW is a state agency and is vulnerable to the whims of politicians who feel the need to make salmon a political pawn but crap guys! How can you double the bag limit with no discernible signs of an large enough upswing in populations to warrant this?
I feel we took two steps forward and one step back on Thursday which I could live with if ODFW would continue in that way but I am skeptical. ODFW's track record has been less than stellar the past decade now hasn't it?
Stay tuned

1 comment:

  1. Shane, thanks for being there, and for your update. Seems like Knutsen has shifted the Tillamook office into a more protective force for wild salmon and steelhead. He's not afraid to stand up for the fish. But, as you suggest, he is under pressure from the director's office and angling groups to horse-trade on all protections--he's got to throw a bone every time he recommends anything that reduces harvest opportunity. Elicker has made it clear that angling opportunity means harvest opportunity, and it is his primary goal to maximize those opportunities. Thankfully the recovery plan process under the Native Fish Policy will not allow him to maintain the charade.

    Any Nestucca angler who thinks 2010 should be business as usual is severely off his rocker. The river should be closed, period.