Occupy Skagit

February 9, 2013 By: Erin Block

Concerned over the current population and status of steelhead, anglers of the northeast are holding a rally to raise awareness about need for protection of this species and importance of sustainable catch and release fisheries.

Read more in the press release below.

Occupy Skagit

Over the years catch and release has been growing as an anglers responsibility and the sportsfishing industry is encouraging this as a means of sustaining future populations of fish. In a state that allows threatened steelhead to be killed on rivers such as the Hoh, I find it hard to believe that they would close a sustainable sportsfishery of catch and release in the Puget Sound.

I find it hard to believe that NOAA’s current status of steelhead in (Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Southwest Washington, and Upper Willamette River) are not presently in significant danger of becoming extinct or endangered, although some individual stocks within these ESUs may be at risk.

Here is an opportunity to voice our concern for a dying fishery on one of the best rivers in Washington.

What is Occupy Skagit?

  • A gathering on the Skagit River, April 6th in support of restoring the C&R season. The activity will involve ‘fishing’ without hooks in as many visible places as possible on the Skagit and Sauk; from the bridge at Concrete upstream to Bacon Creek on the Skagit, and upstream on the Sauk to the bridge at Darrington.
  • This is a ‘Wade In’ Our purpose is not to disrupt traffic, be violent, disrespectful, trespass, harass, or engage in illegal activity of any kind…you know, just like when you go fishing.
  • This is a parallel action to mesh with attendance at the WDFW Comissioners Meeting the following week in Olympia.

Why is Occupy Skagit?

  • At the time of the ESA listing of Puget Sound wild steelhead, it was generally acknowledged by NMFS that the most robust large basin population in the region was in the Skagit; in fact on its own it probably would not have been listed. After reviewing the evidence, it is our belief that a well managed, catch-and-release (C&R) season on the Skagit would not be inconsistent with the recovery of its wild winter steelhead.
  • This will require a petition from WDFW to NMFS for a permit that establishes basin specific allowable impacts (as is currently being done with Puget Sound Chinook).

Who is Occupy Skagit?

  • You are. If two people do it, no one will notice. If two hundred people do it, we hope to garner some attention. Sometimes you have to dump a little tea in the harbor to get noticed.