WHERE TO START –
IS THERE AN END?...
There seems to be an exceptional amount of negative (and positive) issues involving our regional Northwest fisheries. Many of the issues are urgent and will have a direct influence on our upcoming fisheries, some immediate and some long term. There aren’t enough pages here to review or mention all of them and get deep into details but just being aware of them is important and warrant follow up by all of us.
First off, I urge all of our readers to study the research that Terry Sheely has expounded on this month, both on the front page “WHAT NOW” article, and then his Columbia River Region column on page 9.
Up front you’ll see that management of salmon on the Columbia River has taken another turn sideways, if not upside down. Washington and Oregon commissioners are in an unusual battle with each other over the river’s commercial gillnetting, mainly because of commercial fishing influence on those commission(s).
Page 9 offers a grade of “F” on the salmon recovery throughout the system and review of listed fish runs and goals, harvest, restoration, expenses and so on. If all of that isn’t enough then study the chart there on this year’s forecast which should open your eyes.
At the sportsmen’s show in Puyallup a young(er) gentleman approached us regarding the secret meetings that have turned the North of Falcon process into a conglomeration of absurd waste coupled with prejudice, ignorance and spineless decisions.
Perry Menchaca (Tacoma) has the welcomed intestinal fortitude to attack the “closed door” process which bans (illegally?) the public from attending and contributing to these locked-door non-public meetings with a petition stating “Open the WDFW/Tribal C-manager North of Falcon Meetings to the Public Campaign.” This starts with a letter to the director and the commissioners. It states:
Open the North of Falcon WDFW/Tribal meetings to public access. The secret meetings must end. It is time to be transparent and to be accountable to the public. Refusal to allow the public access to these meetings has created a perception of mis-deeds and fosters mis-trust in our public servants and the treaty tribes of this state. Transparency is the only means in which WDFW and tribal governments can restore the trust and confidence of the public in the co-management of fish and wildlife in the state. Allow public access.
I hope all of you will take a look at this and support his efforts. You can find out more by going to: https://www.change.org.
One other venue that is circulating includes Washington’s Governor Inslee’s consideration of eliminating one of our strongest sportfishing advocates on his commission, that being Larry Carpenter who is up for renewal of his term. Believe me, we need Larry on that commission!
Another thing slapping us in the face is the “proposed” increase of fishing and hunting licenses in Washington for residents and non-residents. This is debatable and I think most of us agree that the department could use more funding for increased enforcement, providing more access, habitat, restoration and opportunity, but where is their “proposal” for these things? And why should the sportsmen be the ones paying for all of that?
There is a fairly strong alliance between most of us, especially in the fishing industry. One of those in the alliance is the Puget Sound Anglers (PSA) and their members. PSA is very active in Olympia and with working with the feds, be it from the individual chapters/members or via the State Board. Although this is done voluntarily it still takes funding. Many of the PSA chapters hold salmon derbies (Northwest Salmon Derby Series) as fund raisers and distribute the raised funds accordingly. Due to the absurd loss of fishing opportunities in 2016, this funding source dwindled.
This year the PSAers have decided to recreate a venue that should help raise funds for the “fights” as well as be advantageous and fun for sportsmen. Coming April 7, 8 and 9 they will be having their own Sportsman’s Show in Monroe, WA (see page 15 and go to www.monroesportmanshow). Their goal is for this to be an annual event as it was in the past…and to fill a war chest for upcoming wars. This is something all of us can support!