ASK THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
Protect the Public's $14.4 Million Investment in Wild Salmon Conservation by Implementing the Non-Tribal Gillnet Buyback
Endangered sockeye salmon swimming up the Columbia River with wounds from gill nets. Photo: Conrad Gowell
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In May 2022, the Washington State Legislature passed a voluntary non-tribal gillnet buyback as part of the 2022 budget, requiring the reduced fishery impacts associated with purchased gillnet licenses to be reserved “for conservation through increased wild salmonid escapement or mark-selective fisheries capable of harvesting surplus hatchery-reared salmon.” Read the full proviso here.
In short, commercial gillnet licenses were meant to be purchased and retired to reduce harm to threatened and endangered wild salmon.
Instead, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has blatantly ignored the Legislature’s conservation intent by failing to reduce gillnet fishing effort to any extent nearly a year since the Governor approved the buyback to “ensure the recovery of salmon."
While the public’s $14.4 million investment in salmon recovery has been fully disbursed to the fishing industry, WDFW has maintained the same amount of harm to wild salmon in the gillnet fishery.
In further conflict with the 2022 budget bill, the Department has failed to transition the commercial sector toward mark-selective fishing with sustainable alternative fishing methods proven to protect wild salmon while reducing straying of hatchery produced fish to the spawning grounds.
In the meantime, the proportion of hatchery-origin spawners in numerous tributaries of the lower Columbia River continues to dramatically exceed federal limits designed to prevent jeopardy to threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.
Now, the Fish and Wildlife Commission is responsible for deciding whether they will take action to provide one of the most significant gains for wild salmon conservation in decades, or whether they will allow the public’s $14.4 million investment in salmon recovery to further harm and perpetuate their decline.
We need your help!
Take action to call on the Fish and Wildlife Commission to direct the Department to implement the bill as intended by the Governor and Legislature, and protect the public's significant investment in wild salmon recovery.
Send Commissioners, Legislators, and the Governor's office an Email
STEP 2: Write & send an email to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
Below is an email we've drafted to make it as easy as possible to contact decision makers about this issue.
We strongly encourage you to add at least 1-2 sentences to this email message sharing your unique perspective. This might include how you would benefit from salmon being restored or how the continued state of endangered salmon has directly affected you.
These types of personal messages are the most powerful and will help demonstrate to decision makers the diverse ways which non-selective fishing has ecologically, economically, and culturally harmed our region.
Please share this action alert with others. This investment for Salmon recovery was made by the public, so decision makers need to ensure that its benefits are realized.
Click on the icons at the end of this email to share this action alert by social media or email and help more of the public reach decision makers.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Thank you for all you make possible!
Wild Fish Conservancy