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Why did area 10 in Puget Sound get closed for Salmon this year??-gctid653960

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    Why did area 10 in Puget Sound get closed for Salmon this year??-gctid653960

    I just received my Tony's Tackle Box newsletter from Tony Floor at the Northwest Marine Trade Association, he has a good explanation as to why Area 10 was closed to Salmon fishing this year. Here is the relevant part explaining the closure.

    June 2015

    I've received considerable e-mail and phone call traffic since mid-April when the announcement was made by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) regarding the 2015-2016 salmon season setting process (North of Falcon). It makes some level of sense, briefly, to dive into the controversy of the outcome, even though it is history.

    As most Washington saltwater anglers know, the controversy stemmed from the elimination of any summer chinook fishery (marked hatchery-produced) in Area 10, which is all marine waters between Kingston and the north tip of Vashon Island. The tragedy of this closure is that the closure was not necessary to protect all wild chinook stocks requiring conservation.

    In the 11th hour of final negotiations with Puget Sound treaty Indian tribes, the Puget Sound sport fishing package was complete, which included minor hatchery-Chinook-salmon-only fishing opportunities for all marine waters east of the ocean. This included a one month season for the Seattle region, known as Area 10.

    The WDFW team, consisting of technical and policy level biologists, had done a comprehensive job of sculpturing a summer package that met all conservation objectives, including protections for Lake Washington wild chinook salmon. Regardless, the state's assembling of the season for central Puget Sound was not satisfactory to the Muckleshoot tribe.

    As a result of the Muckleshoot's disapproval of the state's central Puget Sound regulatory package, the tribe held all further negotiating as hostage and demanded a complete sport fishing closure for hatchery chinook salmon this summer in Area 10. This action, in essence, stopped any further advancement of a comprehensive agreement between the state and the tribes.

    Identical tactics by the Muckleshoot tribe have been used in recent years and under the leadership of former WDFW Director Phil Anderson, who agreed to these last minute demands considering the philosophy that a bad deal is better than no deal at all. If the state and tribes, in this process, cannot reach agreement, the no-agreement-option is referred to as the "nuclear option." Legal observers suggest that the nuclear option would result in closure of all salmon fisheries effective May 1: sport, tribal and commercial. It has never been tested.

    As new Director of WDFW Jim Unsworth considered these two options, triggered by the Muckleshoot tribe, he agreed to their demands. The tribe celebrated all the way home, victorious with their summer closure of sport fishing for hatchery-produced chinook salmon. Meanwhile, they will continue to kill hundreds of Lake Washington chinook salmon in their catch-and-kill gillnet fishery at the Ship Canal entrance into Lake Washington; some of which will be protected wild chinook salmon, pursuing coho and sockeye salmon.

    From this corner, again, the closure was not necessary for Area 10, affecting Seattle area anglers and outdoor related businesses. The package of chinook fishing opportunities for Puget Sound, assembled by WDFW biologists, was the best anglers could hope for. But it wasn't enough as the Muckleshoot tribe continues to use their power play resulting in political management of Puget Sound sport fisheries. In my view, this is a sad outcome for sport salmon fishing in Puget Sound with no solution in sight.

    If this kind of salmon management between the state and the tribes makes sense, negotiators should be passing out Sake bombs to help the common folk understand the outcome. Bottom line is that the North of Falcon salmon season setting process is gravely broken.

    Area 9 may as well be closed too - be sure to get out early this year because the quota is only 2400 hatchery kings. The tribes get the rest.