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Summer 2020 Wild Fish Runs e-newsletter

Aug 29, 2020

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Wild Fish Enthusiasts,
Since our newsletter six months ago, life as we know it has changed dramatically, as we come together to address the ongoing threats of COVID-19, a global economic crisis, and America's long overdue national reckoning on topics of racial injustice and racial inequality. These serious issues have affected our way of life, how we communicate, and where we focus our collective energy, activism, and self-education.

To this end, we fully recognize that many of you may have less time and energy than normal to devote to the issues facing wild fish and killer whales. At the same time, it's critical that we don't lose ground on the accomplishments and momentum we've achieved over the past three decades. 

I’m writing to assure you that Wild Fish Conservancy is continuing to drive forward the research, advocacy, and education necessary to ensure meaningful progress toward recovery continues without interruption and that science-based solutions receive the time and consideration they deserve. With 30 years of expertise, talented staff, and a network of colleagues, scientists, and friends around the world, WFC stands more prepared than ever to effectively take on these challenges.

Through this summer edition of our Wild Fish Runs e-newsletter, I’m incredibly proud and excited to share the following articles from WFC’s staff describing our most recent groundbreaking accomplishments.
We have been and continue to be truly humbled by the generosity and support of our members. When you read this newsletter, don't forget, you are part every article, because your support helped make it possible.

Stay safe and healthy,

Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director
Wild Fish Conservancy
All of the research, education, and advocacy described in this newsletter is made possible by Wild Fish Conservancy members.

If you support our work to ensure Washington's most fundamental fishery policies reflect the best available science,  please consider becoming a member today.

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Is it time to renew? If you'd like an update on the status of your annual membership, send an email to [email protected].
A New Campaign to Take Back Our Sound from Commercial Net Pen Aquaculture
Beginning in 2022, the 10-15 year leases that have authorized the net pen industry to pollute and degrade Puget Sound will expire. Through the new Taking Back Our Sound campaign, we've submitted draft applications calling on WA officials to instead lease these same public waters for the restoration of Puget Sound and the benefit of all— not the profit of a few. In the first section of the article below, learn more about the Taking Back Our Sound campaign, this alternative restoration project, and how you can get involved to help take back our Sound. Thought the net pens were already gone? Heard they might be coming back? The second part of this article provides an overview of everything you need to know about this issue.

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Photo: Russ Ricketts, Colchuck Media
The Minority Report: Standing Alone for Science-based Steelhead Recovery
For the past three years, WFC's Jamie Glasgow served on the Steelhead Advisory Group, a panel of passionate recreational fishing representatives tasked by the state to develop a guide to restore Puget Sound's endangered steelhead. The group's QuickSilver report released last month makes several  recommendations intended to provide more short-term steelhead fishing opportunities for recreational anglers and more license sales for WDFW, but at the unknown cost to the recovery of ESA-listed Puget Sound steelhead. In the article below, Jamie describes why he cast the sole dissenting vote and submitted a minority report that explains why QuickSilver is unlikely to be successful in recovering this iconic species.

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The Columbia River Fish Trap
In 2020, WFC will conduct our fifth season of research on the Columbia River experimental fish trap and publish a second peer-reviewed study on this groundbreaking research that demonstrates nearly 100% survival rates of threatened and endangered fish released from the trap. In comparison, gill nets— the Columbia's only approved commercial fishing gear— have never been studied in over 150 years of use for critical bycatch stocks. In addition to research updates, WFC biologist Adrian Tuohy describes how this data gap threatens the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River.

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Understanding How Ocean Harvest Affects the Size, Abundance, and Resiliency of Chinook
Fishery data already suggests that over a century of commercial and recreational harvest in mixed-stock ocean fisheries is reducing the size, abundance, and resiliency of Chinook populations in the northwest. In the article below, WFC's Dr. Nick Gayeski explains his latest work to develop an individual-based eco-genetic model of Chinook salmon in order to improve our understanding of how harvest in the mixed-stock ocean fishery is changing wild Chinook that Southern Resident killer whales, coastal communities, and our region's ecosystem depend on.

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Defending Science-based Hatchery Reform
Washington's Fish and Wildlife Commission is working to quickly approve fundamental changes to Washington's Hatchery and Fisheries Reform Policy, revisions that abandon best available science and reverse commitments made in the initial reform policy. The article below provides a background on the history of hatchery reform in the northwest, the changes proposed by the WA Fish and Wildlife Commission, and WFC's efforts to prevent the undermining of science-based hatchery and fishery policies in Washington.

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Restoration Update
This summer WFC's field staff and engineers are preparing to begin construction on a number of exciting new restoration projects in Washington with the goal of restoring complex, dynamic, and self-maintaining habitats that wild fish need to recover and thrive. We hope you enjoy the linked article describing two projects that will break ground next month.

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