Haw Update, Comment, and Summary

Haw Update 1996

Today Frank Haw is the leading proponent of the wild salmon only policy. Get rid of the hatcheries is his new battle cry.

Today Frank Haw has successfully pushed a mass Coho and Chinook marking bill through the Washington state legislature. This means that millions of tax dollars must be spent to purchase the salmon marking equipment, the tags (made by a company started by Frank Haw), train people to use them, and train people to use equipment to inspect the landed fish for tags.

What this means is less money will go to raising more fish. And likely will cause increased stress on the marked fish, resulting in higher mortality. In other words fewer fish.

What this also means is big law suits from the Tribes. They know this mass marking is bad biology and purely politics. They know as do we that this will result in fewer fish. But the new Wildlife Commission does not care, and neither does WF&G. They both know that Washington State law allows them to waste as much of the salmon resource as they choose. Even all of the resource.

What this also means is Canada will have no part of this, despite the fact that WF&G has spent a lot of money trying to train Canadians to use the machines. And worse, since the result will be fewer Coho, Washington will once again be in default of the 1985 salmon accords with Canada.

The issue: Parity – the ‘make-up agreement’ Washington State signed with the US Federal government mandated Washington State to raise more Coho and Chinook to achieve parity with Canada.

Added 11/28/07. Haw was first and foremost the champion of sport fishing, and in particular charter boats, since his brother ran such an operation out of Neah Bay, WA.

PIF’s Comments on the Skagit River Coho by the Incorrect Fish

It was during this time period (17 years ago – 1979) that the Tahuya River on Hood Canal in the Kitsap Peninsula was weired off. The Coho run that returned faithfully every year, that was touted far and wide as the last wild, native untouched and untampered with Coho run was killed off in a few short years.

Thereafter Coho in Hood Canal was used as a driver stock for the rest of Puget Sound; this designation for Hood Canal joined the Skagit River Coho as driver stocks. Driver stocks determine the harvest levels for entire regions.

Skagit River Coho eyed eggs had for decades been sold world-wide, while both sport and commercial fishermen sat on the beach at the order of the Department of Fisheries to ‘protect and rebuild’ the run.

It might also be noted that Mr. Singer makes reference to ‘the Washington salmon populations are at their lowest ebb’. The Department of Fisheries pronounced this idea far and wide.

However, this writer obtained the then free ‘Red Book’ or ‘Salmon Bible’. Each year this book tallies all salmon releases, catches, and returns state-wide. Using their internal numbers for 6 years, my data was presented to them during a meeting with the director proving they were ‘in error’. A subsequent retraction of their position was printed in the Times/PI. A very short retraction buried in the back pages.

The ‘Salmon Bible’ now cost $100 a copy, if it can be obtained at all.

Also, to complete the WDF media metaphor, it was during this time that both the Department of Fisheries and all the media were touting the line that salmon were the ‘last of the buffalo’ and commercial fishermen ‘the last of the buffalo hunters.’

PIF’s Summary: The Coho Decline Summary by the Incorrect Fish

As ‘everyone knows’ today salmon are endangered everywhere. The original campaign petered-out. This new campaign has once again been picked up by the media from coast-to-coast and has proven so effective that in many parts of this country, people are afraid to eat salmon unless they are of the farmed variety. People believe this new campaign and do not want to eat an endangered species.

Yet, were copies of the ‘Salmon Bible’ freely available today, it might well be that the numbers have increased overall since 1979.

True some Coho runs are fewer, but is this the result of nature’s doing, or is it the result of a deliberate long-standing policy?

Given that Washington State has long exported the Coho and Chinook fry en-mass world-wide,

Given that Frank Haw instituted the policy of killing wild salmon in the late 70’s and 80’s,

Given that hatchery managers for the past decade or so have been evaluated on the VOLUME of salmon fry released (more smaller and weaker fed-fry fit into a rearing pond than larger and healthier fed fry), instead of the old policy of QUALITY of released fry and QUANTITY of salmon returned,

Given that hatchery policy of hiring kids to spawn salmon, who are reluctant or physically unable to pick up the larger adults to spawn, instead concentrating on the smaller adults to spawn, which results in progeny that are physically smaller and less able to survive in the wild,

Given that the Department has massively increased it’s ‘delayed release’ coho and chinook programs, which since they never stray far from Puget Sound, massively increase predation on wild stock Coho and Chinook,

Given that numerous ‘sportsmen’ and ‘sportfishing groups’ argue and lobby for smaller Coho and Chinook, which they claim are more fun to catch than larger ones, while demanding a year round salmon fishing season (contrary to the natural salmon cycles), which demands increased ‘delayed releases’,

Given that the current Washington Wildlife Commission & the Washington Department of Fish & Game are legally able to waste the salmon resource, and freely and frequently do (what are their intentions for the 1996 chum run, which has been going by unharvested for weeks now and has been upgraded from 1.5 million return to 3 million?,

Is it any wonder that Coho are possibly fewer and definitely far smaller (4-4.5 lb vs 9 – 10 lb) than just a few decades ago?

PS: Naturally, the media places real culprit in the decline of the coho runs and sizes as overfishing by the evil and greedy commercial salmon fishermen.

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