Throughout the southern half of their range, wild steelhead have experienced tremendous declines during the last century and a half. While many factors have contributed to their decline, overharvest in sport and commercial fisheries has been ubiquitous, and today most populations are depressed below 10% of their historic abundance. During…
Key Issue: Steelhead Harvest
Robert Hooton, retired fisheries biologist and wild steelhead advocate checks in from British Columbia with a perspective on fisheries management for Dean River steelhead.
Take action and submit your comments to the WDFW for regulation improvements during the 2013/2014 sportfishing rule proposals adoption process.
Published in the most recent issue of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, “Population Structure and Run Timing of Steelhead in the Skeena River, British Columbia” increases the previous number of assumed distinct populations of summer steelhead in the river from 5 to 17. The authors (Beacham, Wallace, et al.) utilized genetic analysis from samples of mainly adult fish collected at the mouth of the river to isolate these populations.
As most are aware, dam removal on the Elwha River presents one of the greatest salmonid recovery opportunities in the United States. A Fish Restoration Plan was designed to expedite commercial salmon harvests through large-scale hatchery production, but the levels of hatchery production proposed would greatly impede the recovery of wild-producing salmonids (along with the poorly designed monitoring and adaptive management protocols for the hatchery programs).
Are we at a time where there is no place left to go? For this angler, it seems we are approaching a destination I hate to admit or begrudge to accept. The wild, rainforest rivers of the West end of the Olympic Peninsula (OP) is a very special place with a race of legendary wild winter-run steelhead that could rival the world renown Skeena system to the North.
The Puget Sound steelhead , Oncorhynchus mykiss, was listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2007, prompting the initiation of recovery planning. Recovery planning requires, ultimately, the identification of conditions under which the “evolutionary significant unit” (ESU) can be considered to have been recovered and subsequently removed from the list of threatened and endangered species (“de-listed”).