Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Let Hatchery Advocates Hijack WDFW's Gene Bank Process

Recently, we asked you to submit comments in support of WDFWs groundbreaking decision to designate three new wild steelhead gene banks in Southwest Washington. The decision to permanently discontinue releases of hatchery steelhead and designate the Wind, East Fork Lewis and Green and North Fork Toutle Rivers as wild steelhead gene banks arose from the recommendations of an advisory group WDFW convened on the subject of wild steelhead recovery. The proposal had been met with wide spread support until the CCA started running radio adds prompting backlash from some local fishing groups fearful of losing their allocation of taxpayer funded hatchery welfare.

Now the department is bowing to pressure from the CCA, extending the comment period and holding a second public meeting on the issue of designating the gene banks. The proposal to designate the Green River as a wild gene bank has apparently been particularly contentious with some local anglers who enjoy fishing for hatchery origin skamania stock summer runs. However, this ignores the fact that even with the closure of the hatchery program there will still be ample opportunity to fish for hatchery summer runs in the region, including on the Cowlitz, SF Toutle, Kalama, NF Lewis and Washougal. 

The public meeting is scheduled for the evening of January 9th and will run from 6-8PM. It is being held at Washington Hall Room 103 at Centralia College, 701 W. Walnut St. 

It is critical that advocates for wild steelhead make a strong showing at this meeting and give WDFW cover to make the right choice and protect wild steelhead in the Green and Northfork Toutle Rivers. 

More information on the proposed gene banks in the Lower Columbia:

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