The Canadian overharvest debacle

In the coming week, we will likely be hearing from the Director of WDFW about why the state has not applied for its own section 7 permit. It will be explained that new data has come to light indicating that Canada’s annual fisheries have in fact been harvesting more of our fish than anyone thought. It will be further explained that the ongoing overharvest of U.S. born hatchery and native fish, by the Canadians, is so impactful that WDFW’s computer modeling program (referred to as FRAM) must be re-baselined. He will likely go on to say that unless this is done, predictions of proposed Southern U.S. fisheries will not accurately reflect true impacts to ESA listed stocks of fish in U.S Ocean waters and Puget Sound. And so my friends, there is a good chance this debacle will be offered up as the reason why WDFW is not pursuing their own permit (a permit that would allow both the state and the tribes to enter the negotiating room on equal footing). The Dept will likely point to the severe disruption in data (and the resultant effect on harvest and fishing opportunity) as their reason for why the State must wait to apply for what should have been applied for 6 years ago.

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Brett Rosson