ODFW is currently seeking public comment on the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan. The commentary below was sent to us by Joe Ferguson of the Steamboaters on the North Umpqua.
The draft Coastal salmonid Management Plan (CMP) is available for comment until February 10. The CMP was developed by ODFW staff with limited public input, and is primarily a hatchery and harvest plan that is designed to continue most of the current management practices. It is scientifically suspect, and represents a high risk for wild fish on much of the Oregon coast. A more detailed article will appear in the Osprey soon.
A series of public meetings on the coast begins in late January.To review the CMP, the 25-page Executive Summary, the schedule of public meetings, and the IMST report discussed below, go to: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/coastal_multispecies.asp
Comments can be emailed to ODFW at: ODFW.CoastalPlan@state.or.us
I will acknowledge here that ODFW is under considerable pressure from elected officials and a large segment of the sport fishing population to provide fish for consumption and not to focus on protection and recovery of wild fish. I also recognize that hatcheries are absolutely necessary; we’re not going to return to conditions that existed 200 years ago.
However at some point Oregon must move towards protection/recovery of wild fish, and the draft CMP fails in this regard. The draft CMP was reviewed by two separate scientific groups, with parallel findings: The Independent Multi-Disciplinary Scientific Team (IMST), authorized by the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (15 pages, available on ODFW’s CMP website); and a separate Panel assembled by Steamboaters and the Native Fish Society consisting of Steven Cramer & Associates, Chuck Huntington, and Dr. Chris Frissel (30 pages, key points are itemized on pp 3 & 4). NFS will post on their website shortly, or email me at J-FergusonPLS@comcast.net for a copy.
From the IMST report (p 1): “However, we have major concerns that the CMP places excess faith in hatcheries, makes multiple assumptions with minimal data if any, (and) limits discussion to the pressures that ODFW can regulate thereby omitting major land use and socioeconomic pressures….”
Key issues with the plan:
1) There is no comprehensive plan designed to benefit wild fish.
2) Hatchery impacts are not considered a primary or secondary limiting factor for wild fish populations. Hatchery planting increases from 6 million to 6.3 million.
3) Impacts to wild fish habitat from climate change (both freshwater and ocean), O&C legislation, and human population increases on the coast are ignored.
4) There is no plan for habitat protection or improvement. Impacts to habitat are not defined; habitat improvement is left for others to accomplish with little guidance.
5) The monitoring plan lacks both specificity and the necessary funding.
6) Chum salmon and spring chinook are at risk, and anadromous cutthroat populations are depressed. The CMP devotes minimal effort to their recovery.
I urge you to read these scientific reviews and contact the department and the Commission with your concerns.