Sen. Salomon: protecting habitat of wild salmon and resident orcas

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sen. Jesse Salomon
From Sen. Jesse Salomon, D-32 (Shoreline, SW Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, NW Seattle)

As vice chair of the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee, I am working on a bill to implement the recommendations from the Orca Task Force to increase the amount of chinook salmon that our hatcheries produce and to increase their chances of survival by rehabilitating the juvenile salmon habitat along the Puget Sound shoreline.

This week we heard public testimony on a bill I’m sponsoring that would ban commercial gill nets, which threaten salmon and resident orca populations by harvesting over 50,000 wild salmon, some of which come from runs that are supposed to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. Gill nets are a concern because they catch hatchery and wild salmon alike.

The bill would establish a buyout program of existing commercial gill net licenses to compensate commercial fishers and allow them to transition to safer fishing methods. I will work to make sure the remaining hatchery salmon are fairly divided between commercial, tribal and sport fishers after giving the Orcas a chance to eat them.



Anonymous,  February 19, 2019 at 8:16 AM  

Will this bill apply to First Nations peoples fishing in their ancestral waters? Does it take into account treaty rights?

Janis Harsila,  February 19, 2019 at 8:45 AM  

Really disappointed that my newly elected Senator, Jesse Salomon, is a prime sponsor of SB 5617 that would eliminate all non-tribal gillnet permits in Washington State including Puget Sound. He claims this would provide more Chinook salmon for Orcas to eat.
Puget Sound non-tribal gillnet fishermen do not target Chinook salmon except for one small fishery in Bellingham/Samish Bays for hatchery Chinooks. These Chinook have left the marine area that Orcas feed in. Other than that, non-tribal gillnet fishermen caught only 64 Chinooks in Puget Sound in 2018.
Do you know who catches a lot of Chinooks in Puget Sound? It's sports fishermen who target Chinooks. In 2017 sportsmen hooked over 130,000 Chinooks! (92,000 Chinooks were hooked & released resulting in 30,000 mortalities and 62,000 survivals. 41,000 hatchery were landed. This is data from the Pacific Salmon Commission Chinook Technical Committee Report 2018. Data for 2018 isn't available as of yet.
Sorry to see that Jesse is targeting elimination of small boat commercial fishing businesses with this misguided bill. If passed, not one additional Chinook salmon will be provided to hungry Orcas. The gillnet catch will simply be reallocated to other fishing fleets with higher bycatch rates.
Jesse, Facts Matter.

Pete Knutson February 19, 2019 at 10:15 AM  

Senator Salomon's bill will eliminate 445 small fishing businesses in rural and coastal Washington state.

For a recently published critical analysis of the bill read

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