Tag Archives: willapa bay

WDFW Holding Jan. 23 Workshop On Willapa Sport, Comm Fishing Priorities

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

State fishery managers will hold a public workshop Jan. 23 in Raymond to solicit public comments on priorities for upcoming sport and commercial salmon-fishing seasons in Willapa Bay.

WDFW WANTS TO HEAR FROM WILLAPA BAY SALMON FISHERMEN, BOTH RECS LIKE LAUREN SAELID, HERE WITH TWO 2015 KINGS, AND COMMERCIALS ABOUT UPCOMING FISHERIES THERE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The workshop, sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at the Raymond Elks Club on 326 Third St.

Annette Hoffmann, regional WDFW fish manager, said the department is currently seeking guidance on how to reconcile priorities for salmon-fishing opportunities established in the state’s Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy.

That policy, approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2015, gives recreational fisheries priority in the Willapa Bay chinook harvest, while designating commercial fisheries as the priority for coho fisheries in the bay.

To meet conservation objectives, WDFW requires both fisheries to release any wild chinook salmon they encounter and manages fishing seasons to hold mortality rates for those fish within a prescribed limit.

Hoffmann said the department has asked the commission to provide greater clarity on ways to achieve those priorities, and wants to involve participants in Willapa Bay’s recreational and commercial fisheries in the discussion.

“The commission makes the policy, but we also want to hear from those directly involved in these fisheries,” she said.

Hoffmann said state fishery managers will convey comments heard at the workshop to the commission during a public meeting scheduled Feb. 9-10 in Olympia. The department will then look to the commission to provide guidance in setting fishing seasons for Willapa Bay in 2018 and future years.

The Bioturbations Of Sand Shrimp: Not Just Bait, Important For Bays Too

Word of the day: bioturbating.

That’s what sand aka ghost shrimp and blue mud shrimp are doing in their little burrows in estuaries up and down the Northwest Coast 24/7/365.

Bioturbating the holy hell out of all that mud and silt and decaying plant matter and whatnot that collects on the tideflats, making it that much richer.

A RESEARCHER STANDS ON A TIDEFLAT PINHOLED WITH THE BURROWS OF SAND SHRIMP. AS MANY AS 600 CAN EXIST IN A SQUARE METER. (OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY)

All that free labor’s great for the health of the ecosystems our salmon and other critters depend on. By one estimate, burrowing shrimp filter as much as 80 percent of the water in bays.

And here you thought sand skrimps just existed to adorn a 2/0 hook with some eggs on the side!

A DIVER-AND-BAIT SET-UP RIGGED WITH A SPIN-N-GLO AND SAND SHRIMP. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

But it’s not so good if you’re an oyster in Nahcotta or Newport. All that mucking around kills the valuable shellfish, which are hugely important for coastal economies. The oysters can sink into veritable “quicksand,” quickly suffocate and die.

So in effect, the shrimp have become the northern pikeminnows of our rich bays, a native species that has to be controlled so other more financially and culturally desirable ones may thrive in the altered environments.

AS OYSTERS MATURE THEY MUST REMAIN ON THE SURFACE OF TIDEFLATS, BUT WHEN THEY SHARE SPACE WITH BURROWING SHRIMP, THEY CAN SUFFOCATE AND DIE BY SINKING INTO THE MUD. (USDA-ARS)

In Washington pesticides have been used to kill them off, but that’s caused a big stir in recent years. A state permit to use imidacloprid was issued in 2015 but then almost immediately withdrawn at the request of the oyster industry after public outcry.

A subsequently “reduced scope” application for a five-year permit to annually spray up to 500 acres of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor by hand and boat instead of helicopter is now out for public comment.

I have to admit that when I learned about the spraying, it really, really bugged me.

It wasn’t so much the self-righteous indignation of Seattle chefs, more like, should we be using that stuff in the environment, let alone to kill off key actors in it?

SAND SHRIMP. (THERESA HOGUE, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY)

On the flip side, in a Seattle Times video, you can hear the frustration voiced by a Washington State University extension agent tasked with helping oyster growers figure out a different solution.

“We beat our heads against the wall,” says Kim Patten, “and nobody has come up with any ideas. So at this point I have no idea, and I don’t think anybody else does.”

Someone might, however.

A recently posted blog by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center on these “estuarine engineers” details research into figuring out where they do well in the bay, in essence attempting to learn if it’s possible to reverse engineer things to benefit shrimp and farmers.

“If it’s an area where we would anticipate the population going down, having weak reproduction, or growing slowly—perhaps, for aquaculture, that would be a good location, because you’d minimize the interaction between the shrimp and the oysters,” Dr. Katelyn Bosley of the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, a stone’s throw or two from Yaquina Bay, told author Al Brown.

“Or conversely, you’ll identify areas where there are fast-growing shrimp because of the high-quality, high-food environment,” she added. “Clearly, by assessing the nutritional status of the environment and knowing that shrimp live there—maybe that’s not a good place to grow juvenile oysters at certain times.”

These are the kind of solutions we should be finding.

It’s also important because burrowing shrimp, particularly blue muds, are being wiped out by an invasive isopod carried here in ship ballast that turns them into zombies that can’t breed.

Usually stopping zombies from breeding is a good thing, but it’s unclear what happens if the shrimp disappear for good — it’s possible systems will become overloaded with nutrients and experience algae blooms, posits Bosley .

With how important the shrimp are — “a key part of their environments,” writes Brown — we should be looking for ways to keep them healthy instead — and bioturbating the bays.

PLASTER CASTS OF SAND SHRIMP AND BLUE MUD SHRIMP BURROWS. THEY CAN DIG AS MUCH AS A METER BELOW THE SURFACE! (USDA-ARS)