Kitsap Sun: Tribe responds to Tarboo Creek criticism

Last week Joseph Pavel, natural resources director for the Skokomish Tribe, responded to criticism about fisheries impacts to Tarboo Creek fish:

Joseph Pavel, natural resources director for the tribe, praised Bahls for his habitat work but said the tribe’s harvest management rules conform to both short-term and long-term plans for Hood Canal, which is managed as an aggregate unit, not stream by stream.

“We don’t find his arguments or his data compelling as far as saying a fishery in that area is targeting on wild fish destined for Tarboo Creek,” Pavel said. “I’m not convinced. We feel that long-standing practices are sufficient to protect and maintain our management goals.”

Pavel, the Skokomish manager, said beach seines are used in that area so chinook and summer chum — both listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act — can be released when caught. But coho are not listed, and fall chum are the “bread and butter” of the tribe’s fishing fleet.

“Our goals and objectives are the long-term health and maintenance of all these species of salmon,” Pavel said. “Individual isolated segments of the population will experience highs and lows. Those fish being harvested (in Tarboo Bay) could originate from any production unit.”

Following last year’s low run of coho throughout Hood Canal, both state and tribal salmon managers agree that this year should see fairly normal returns. If those predictions turn out wrong, Pavel said, managers are prepared to make in-season adjustments to fishing rules.