On March 22, 2022, a group of 36 conservation organizations delivered a letter to WA Governor Jay Inslee supporting a third-party independent science review by the Washington State Academy of Science approved by the legislature in the 2022 supplemental operating budget. The review would have evaluated how commercial salmon fishing gears authorized for use in the nontribal lower Columbia River fisheries impact survival of wild salmon and steelhead.
The need as described in the letter:
“While unintentional, commercial fishing gear impacts that harm and kill wild salmon and steelhead in lower Columbia River fisheries have long been identified as a primary contributing factor impeding recovery efforts throughout the Columbia River basin. These fishery impacts to federally protected salmon and steelhead undermine the significant investments made each year by the public, Tribal Nations, and our government to recover these threatened and endangered species, while also resulting in fisheries being curtailed—a lose-lose situation for salmon and orca recovery and local fishing communities.
Regardless of the species of concern, having adequate data and utilizing best available science must be foundational to achieve effective and responsible wildlife management. The proposed Washington State Academy of Sciences review is critically-needed to identify longstanding fishery management data gaps for all commercial salmon fishing gears considered for use in nontribal Columbia River fisheries and will inform a management strategy to develop and advance fishing methods that are scientifically proven to be the least harmful to wild salmon and steelhead recovery.”
In April 2022, Governor Inslee vetoed this independent third-party science review approved by the legislature.
Click below to download and read the full letter.