BLINDSIDED WITH TRIBAL “TRANSPARENCY”
Well, it happened again! Just as as the North of Falcon (NOF) process was prepared to start (fishing forecasts announced on February 28th), the tribes talked WDFW into jumping-the-gun as the “co-managers” sat down at the table, void of public participation, and started making their closed-door “deals” weeks and weeks before scheduled, yet again this year excluding openness to the citizens of Washington State.
So much for “transparency”. (I hate this terminology!)
According to Wikipedia’s business and humanities definition, transparency means: …implying visibility in contexts related to the behavior of individuals…in the communications industry determining how and why information is conveyed through various means…rhetoric to suit the widest possible audience without losing relevant information…research conducted in the spirit of free and open source…in management actions and approaches that radically increase openness.
Lorraine Loomis, Billy Frank’s replacement as chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, has proudly announced their conspiracy of having the NOF secrets with WDFW get underway early and it was without public input, just like in the past. She put ink to paper with “The 2017 state and tribal salmon season-setting process got an earlier start this year. We’ve been working with the state to take a close look at the North of Falcon process and how we can be more efficient. We began our preliminary meetings in January so that tough issues can be addressed more quickly. For example, we are addressing species like pink and coho salmon earlier in the process.”
And then she went on to say, “Even with an early start it won’t be easy for the co-managers to reach agreement again this year.”
Yup, we can see right through this transparency, can’t we?!
There has been a grass roots push to fight for all broken and mangled NOF meetings going forward to be open to the public, led by Perry Menchaca from Tacoma (see this space in the February issue). Perry says, “It is apparent that the tribes are attempting to preemptively act against our movement for transparency. Not only are they already making secret deals for our fisheries, but they are doing so under the guise of increased cooperation and trust building.”
He has asked the tribes to discontinue opposing public oversight and allow at least a video feed broadcast on the public’s government television channel.
In an open letter to Lorraine he noted “The issue is lack of transparency in the closed door meetings…this has created a riff that fosters suspicion and distrust…we were told that they (WDFW) support opening these meetings…they said that you oppose any type of openness.”
As of this writing, Perry hasn’t received any response. Probably doesn’t expect to.
Lorrraine is 100% correct on one end and obviously could care less, that being her statement proclaiming that “it won’t be easy for the co-managers to reach agreements again this year.”
She set the table.
This is a transparency that we can clearly see through even though the tribal nation ignores our presence and blindsided the citizens of Washington State.
ENFORCEMENT ON THE COLUMBIA
If you fish the Columbia River and its tributaries above Tongue Point, you are familiar with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead endorsement. The fund that the endorsement generates is responsible for critical fish monitoring and management activities (enforcement) in Endangered Species Act waters.
In Washington an influential Citizen Board of angling interests advises WDFW regarding how the money is spent, and we’ve been told the Board is doing a great job opening up additional opportunity for sportsmen and women.
A portion of the fund supports three Fish and Wildlife Police Officers stationed in areas where fishing opportunity is vulnerable without that presence. The endorsement sunsets this season (June 2017), and without passage of House Bill 1865, fisheries are in jeopardy. HB 1865 extends the endorsement requirement until June 30, 2022…something to take a look at for sure.