Seattle Times: Seattle clings to its struggling summer sockeye

Lynda Mapes had a great piece in the Seattle Times over the weekend about the Lake Washington sockeye fishery, and how it is managed. She put particular focus on the efforts of the Muckleshoot Tribe to promote this run.

Read the entire piece, but here is a good excerpt:

LAKE WASHINGTON sockeye are among the most studied fish in the region. We check their ear bones, scales and DNA. Count returning adults and out-migrating smolts from towers, viewing windows, traps, weirs and rafts. At the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe alone — which comanages the fish with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife — about 30 staff members labor on sockeye and other fisheries. For all that, with so many factors affecting sockeye survival, including conditions in the ocean, we don’t know quite what to expect, year in and year out, in our quest for the red fish.

Carl Moses Sr., fisheries commissioner for the Muckleshoot, says it best if you ask him the what-is-it-about-sockeye-anyway question. First comes the you’re kidding, right? expression. Then the answer: “They are a tasty fish.”

Lake Washington sockeye also were the first fishery the tribe went out for after the 1974 decision of U.S. District Judge George Boldt affirming treaty tribes’ right to half the catch, and there has always been an air of celebration around the fishery. Families join in and gather to watch, whether they fish or not; a couple even got married on the dock during one opener.