Tag Archives: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Coho swarm Willapa: Astounding run brings increased limits

An unexpectedly strong coho salmon return in the Willapa has fishery managers and biologists reassessing run size,,,. Willapa’s commercial gillnetters are hoping to get more fishing days this fall after early limits to avoid impacts on scarcer Chinook. Commercial fishermen are often the canary in the coalmine when it comes to reporting what’s occurring offshore. The first signs of a bigger-than-expected coho salmon run began showing up on the Port of Peninsula docks a couple weeks ago. >click to read< 18:28

Gillnetters approve, anglers reel at Columbia River salmon policy change

A recent update to the state’s Columbia River salmon management policy to change harvest allocations and allow commercial gillnetting on the main stem has anglers reeling. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the last 30 years to how we fish in order to adjust to (federal Endangered Species Act) listings, in order to adjust to harvesting the best fish in the river at the best times,” said Robert Sudar, a commercial fishing advisor based in Longview. “It’s a totally different fishery than it was 30 to 40 years ago.” >click to read< 10:08

Columbia River Salmon Rules Set

The directors of the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife reached an agreement this week on allocations and gear types for Columbia River salmon fisheries in 2020. The Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissions earlier this year delegated development of 2020 Columbia River fisheries to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Director Curt Melcher and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind.  >click to read< 12:10

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sued Over Steelhead Farming in Puget Sound

Environmental and conservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife over the agency’s recent decision to allow Cooke Aquaculture to rear farmed steelhead trout in Puget Sound. The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Washington, alleges that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a permit to allow steelhead fish feedlots, a type of fish-farming practice, to operate in the complex waterways of Puget Sound without any consideration of the consequences they would have on the environment. >click to read< 13:01

Canadian firm’s steelhead trout farm plan under the microscope after salmon escapes

Last month, a net pen used for fish farming and operated by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific began to dip below the surface off Bainbridge Island. A hole in a pontoon left the structure’s southeast corner partially submerged. Repairs were eventually made. But now as the New Brunswick-based Cooke seeks to farm steelhead trout — instead of the nonnative Atlantic salmon that state law will soon ban — the incident has caught the attention of state regulators. >click to read<  12:58

Lower Columbia River mainstem commercial gillnet fishing ; Non-treaty gillnetters get 45 hours through Aug. 29

With less than half of the 10-year average of fall Chinook salmon expected to return to the Columbia River this year, the two-state Columbia River Compact opened commercial gillnetting in the lower river and in pools upstream of Bonneville Dam for treaty commercial gillnetting.,,, The Compact met this week, Monday, Aug. 12, at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s regional office in Ridgefield to consider early fall Chinook mainstem gillnetting, deciding on 5 nine-hour overnight periods, for a 45-hour total for commercial non-treaty gillnetters beginning Aug. 14 and ending Aug. 29. >click to read< 16:34

Last-ditch battle is underway to save Columbia River salmon, steelhead from determined predator

“In a lot of ways, the fight to save the Columbia River as we know it is going to be won and lost on Lake Roosevelt.” The enemy: northern pike.,,, The aggressive fish with razor-like teeth ended up in the Pend Oreille River sometime in the past decade – and kept going. This is bad news for the Columbia River’s salmon, trout, steelhead and other fish. Because the northern pike are big, determined predators. They’ll eat anything they can, including ducks. >click to read<11:00

Dismal Columbia River salmon forecast may trigger emergency fishing restrictions

Fishery managers in Washington and Oregon are concerned the spring and summer chinook salmons runs on the Columbia River are going to be one of the lowest on record. And the state agencies are calling for a meeting next week to consider emergency restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing along parts of the river. By Friday morning, 189 adult salmon had crossed over Bonneville Dam. That’s less than 8 percent of the 10-year average of 2,392 fish for the same date. >click to read<09:24

Columbia River Reforms – Both sides on gillnet issue dig in

A crucial vote concerning the Columbia River Reforms regarding gillnets will be taken by the full Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at a meeting on June 6-7 in Salem It will determine whether the alterations suggested by the joint-state task force will be adopted.,,, Former Washington commissioners and fisheries scientists have also weighed in with a letter to the legislature, and groups that oppose or endorse the changes have rallied the troops. >click to read<10:28

Options presented for Washington’s ocean salmon fisheries based on predictions

Fish managers released their options for Washington’s ocean salmon fisheries that reflect recent concerns over projected chinook stocks and optimism about improved returns of coho. Three options for ocean salmon fisheries were approved Tuesday for public review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Kyle Adicks, salmon fisheries policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the three alternatives are designed to protect the low numbers of chinook expected to return to the Columbia River and Washington’s ocean waters. >click to read<13:00

Ilwaco: Ocean conditions again interfere with crab sampling

On Thursday turbulent seas again got in the way of collecting Dungeness crab to see if they have at least 23 percent meat in the waters south of Klipsan Beach, a requirement before the region’s commercial crabbers can start the 2018-19 season. The crab season traditionally starts Dec. 1, but is often delayed. Last season, harvests didn’t begin until Jan. 15, 2018. This season, early testing found crab slightly under 23 percent off the Long Beach Peninsula and substantially low in meat off southern Oregon. Delays have mounted as rough conditions keep a vessel contracted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from dumping pots — first on Dec. 22 and then on Dec. 26.>click to read<11:59

BREAKING: More crab season complications – >click to read< 16:44

Columbia River commercial fishery could hinge on century-old method

A series of nets strung between pilings just off the Columbia River shore may offer a glimpse of the future of commercial fishing in the river, even though it harkens back to the fishing practices of a century ago. But some gillnetters say that the experimental fish trap, also known as a pound net, is just another unworkable idea for catching salmon that threatens their livelihoods. One morning last week, researchers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Wild Fish Conservancy worked the fish trap set in the Columbia a few miles upstream of Cathlamet, near Nassa Point. >click to read<09:34

Crabber caught poaching, hiding crab in trash cans under water before season opened

A crabber suspected of poaching a large amount of crab before the season began has been busted by wildlife officials. Officers with the stgarbage can full of crab ate’s Department of Fish & Wildlife received a tip from someone stating he had found a garbage can full of crab tied to a crab pot in the waters off Blaine the day before the commercial season began. The tipster stated the crabber was stockpiling recreationally caught crab for sale once the commercial season opened, officials said. >click to read<19:14

Dosed salmon, clipped fins, a ‘dinner bell’: How far is too far in helping starving orca?

The emergency effort to save a critically ill orca whale is an experiment without precedent. An international team of scientists is piloting techniques to treat a wild, free-swimming orca, one of the largest predators on Earth. The effort includes serving up live fish pumped with medicine and playing a unique tone that one researcher likened to a “dinner bell.” A federal permit approved Aug. 8 provides the clearest look yet at the details of an operation that raises questions even for those involved about the proper limits of human intervention. >click to read<17:39

Pinnipeds, not commercial fishing, depriving Orca of salmon

The plight of the orcas has caught the attention of government leaders after a mother orca was spotted carrying her dead baby for nine days in a row; Tom Nelson of 710 ESPN’s “Outdoor Line” podcast has a few ideas for how the state can help save them. Nelson explains that, unlike other types of orca that feast on pinnipeds such as seals and sea lions, the Southern Resident Killer Whales rely on eating salmon to survive. The grieving mother belongs to the Southern Resident pod. There are not enough salmon being produced at hatcheries to feed the Orca in the Puget Sound, Nelson explained, and increasing development has destroyed the salmons’ homes. “That has put a pinch on the diet of these Southern Resident Killer Whale Orcas, >click to read<16:44

Washington State Ferries vs crab pots: The price of the conflict

The summer season is a very busy time for the Washington State Ferries when several million people are expected to catch a boat. But it is also a busy time for crab fishermen. However, improperly set crab pots can halt ferry travel. “We actually had five ferries damaged by crab pots. Two of them were only superficial damage and it only took them out of service for a few hours,” Captain Scott Freiboth from the Washington State Ferries. “We used a submersible remote-controlled robot to asses that damage and were able to repair them almost immediately. The other three vessels were pulled from service which cut into our available ferries.” >click to read<21:07

Sympathy to new state Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director

Dear Mr. Kelly Susewind, Allow me to express my deepest sympathy. .,, You said it was an honor to serve the people of the state of Washington. And you want to “deliver the results they deserve.” That’s scary.,, The orcas are starving from a lack of salmon. So, we shut down the salmon hatcheries and protect the exploding population of sea lions, seals, cormorants and mergansers that eat as many salmon as the orca and humans put together. The surviving salmon are forced to swim through the thousands of tons of pollutants in a chemical stew that we dump into Puget Sound every year, whose ingredients include but are not limited to sewage, drugs, pesticides, herbicides, personal care products and industrial chemicals, while ignoring the impacts on fish, orcas and humans. Pat Neal  >click to read<14:59

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife names Kelly Susewind new director – >click to read<

Waste Water Treatment Plants: Mussels off the coast of Seattle test positive for opioids

As more and more American communities grapple with opioid addiction, the human toll of the epidemic has grown in both scope and severity. And now, scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have found evidence that drug’s impact has literally flowed downstream to affect marine life, as well.,,, In three of the 18 locations, the mussels then tested positive for trace amounts of oxycodone. How, you ask? When humans ingest opioids like oxycodone, they ultimately end up excreting traces of the drugs into the toilet. Those chemicals then end up in wastewater. And while many contaminants are filtered out of wastewater before it’s released into the oceans, wastewater management systems can’t entirely filter out drugs. Thus, opioids, antidepressants, the common chemotherapy drug Melphalan — the mussels tested positive for all of them. >click to read<08:04

Charges filed in high-grading case against Ilwaco charter skippers

Several local charter skippers and crewmen could soon be reeling in hefty fines and jail sentences. Following a nine-month Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigation, the state in early April filed a total of 37 criminal charges against six men affiliated with Pacific Salmon Charters: David Gudgell, 57, of Seaview; Robert Gudgell, 56, of Longview; Thomas Merriman, 61, of Sammamish; Brian Cables, 59, of Ilwaco; Patrick Gore, 28, of Deer Island, Ore.; and Richard Mercado, 52, of Tacoma. Investigators say the men systematically urged,,, >click to read<14:55

Woman raped by Fish & Wildlife official: ‘I used to be so happy’

When Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon sentenced ex-Department of Fish and Wildlife official Greg Schirato to the maximum sentence for breaking into a colleague’s home and raping her in her sleep, the woman he attacked burst into sobs, a smile breaking through. “I believe Mr. Schirato is a predator,” Dixon said, handing down a sentence of about 10 years to life in prison. “I believe this community needs to be protected from Mr. Schirato. I believe our community has a right to be heard, I believe (the victim) has a right to be heard.” >click to read<14:30

Slow crawl for crab: Seasonal delays stifle coastal economy

Price strikes, delays and poor weather have plagued the 2017-18 Dungeness crab season from the start. Roughly four weeks into the season, landings for the non-tribal coastal crab fishery in Washington were 5,574,792 pounds, only about 60 percent of the total catch during the first weeks of 2016-17 season. “It’s clear this season we are behind,” Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said upon seeing the first official numbers of the season on Friday, Feb 16. >click to read<12:35

Fish farm caused Atlantic salmon spill, state says, then tried to hide how bad it was

Cooke Aquaculture Pacific vastly underrepresented the scope of a catastrophic Atlantic salmon net-pen spill at its Cypress Island farm last August and misled the public and regulators about the cause, according to a new report by state investigators that blames the pen collapse on company negligence. The investigation found that Cooke lowballed the number of escaped fish by more than half, and did not do essential maintenance at its farm, causing the escape. The company also misled agencies about the seriousness and cause of an earlier mishap,,, >click here to read< 20:26

Despite frustration, observation plan yields new fish data

Gillnet fishermen bristled at a requirement to carry state observers last fall, but what felt like a burden to the fleet may have turned out to be a blessing. Preliminary data collected on the trips show that the number of steelhead fishermen kill while trying to catch other fish may actually be much lower than the historic rate. It’s good news for a fishery that has been under fire for using gear opponents say harms fish runs — and even better timing. Last year’s steelhead run was one of the worst returns in decades. >click here to read< 16:13

Commercial crab fishing to open Jan. 15 on the Washington coast

Washington’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open in coastal waters Jan. 15 after a six-week delay, state shellfish managers announced today. Fishery managers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening in coordination with fishery managers from Oregon and California.  click here to read the notice 19:37 

Escaped Atlantic salmon found 42 miles up Skagit River

Strong, silvery and feisty, the Atlantic salmon hit the boat deck, thrashing and thumping. It was the sixth one the Upper Skagit Indian fishing crew caught that day. More than three months after a massive escape of Atlantic salmon from Cooke Aquaculture’s net pen at Cypress Island, Atlantics are still turning up very much alive in the Skagit River, one of Washington’s premier Pacific salmon strongholds.,, Caught more than 42 miles up the Skagit in a brief fishery in just a short stretch of river, those Atlantics were surely not the only ones in the river or the region, said Scott Schuyler, natural-resources director for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, based in Sedro-Woolley. 11 photo’s click here to read the story 18:19

Crab start delayed again

The commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed again along the entire Pacific coast north of Point Arena, California until at least Dec. 31 after tests showed some crab are still too low in meat yield. Crab on the south Washington coast met the meat standard in Dec. 4 testing, but all areas north of Cascade Head have to be at or above 23 percent before the season can open. South of Cascade Head, the required meat threshold is 25 percent. (Cascade Head is located just north of Lincoln City on the north Oregon coast.) click here to read the story 14:04

Puget Sound piracy leaves trail of (salmon) blood

Call it Puget Sound piracy. Thieves boarded a floating salmon farm a few saltwater miles from Anacortes on a Saturday night in September. In their wake, they left a trail of blood. Fish blood, that is. The thieves boated out to one of Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon farms, a grid of 40-foot-deep net-pens ringed by a floating walkway bigger than a football field. They hauled away an undisclosed number of fish from two of the 10 pens. They killed more by turning off the farm’s air hoses that help oxygenate the water where the domesticated salmon swim by the thousands. click here to read the story 12:53

WDFW delays commercial crab fishery on Washington coast due to low meat content

State shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Washington’s coast due to inadequate meat in crab shells. Recent testing indicates crabs along the coast do not have sufficient meat in their shells to meet industry standards for harvest. The fishery will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 to allow more time for crabs to fill with more meat. Contrary to an erroneous news report, WDFW did not delay the commercial crab fishery due to a harmful algae bloom click here to read the story 17:53

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife – Crab still soft, light on meat

Dungeness crab in the Long Beach area are putting on meat at a slower rate than last year, possibly calling into question whether they will be ready for harvest by the traditional Dec. 1 start date. Samples gathered by Oct. 24 in the Long Beach test area had a meat-recovery rate of 19.9 percent, compared to 23 percent from samples gathered by Oct. 30 last year. Samples from the Westport area collected on or before Oct. 27 had a recovery rate of 20.2 percent, compared to 22.9 percent last year. A test conducted by the Quinault Indian Nation (off Westport and Point Grenville) on Oct. 17 had a pick-out rate of 16.5 percent, according to an Oct. 31 report by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. click here to read the story 19:37

Cooke Aquaculture Fish farm has 60 days to fix net pens outside Seattle, risks losing lease

Just a week after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife approved shipment of 1 million more farmed Atlantic salmon to Cooke Aquaculture’s fish farm near Bainbridge Island, another state agency says it has found a hole in the nets and corrosion in the structure of the facility. The Department of Natural Resources on Monday notified Cooke that it is in default of the terms of its lease at its Rich Passage operation. It ordered the facility repaired within 60 days, or the department may cancel the company’s lease for the facility, which operates over public bed lands. click here to read the story 13:53