UASA & HATCHERIES
Mark Yuasa has landed! After 25+ years as an outdoor columnist for The Seattle Times, and after their decision to cancel the outdoors in their sports section due to proclaimed mistakes that outdoorsmen and women don’t meet their demographics, Mark’s contributions will now be back for you with ink-on-paper here in THE REEL NEWS.
Mark has now taken the reins as the replacement for Tony Floor as director of the NW Salmon Derby Series and will also be handling the Grow Boating program for the Northwest Marine Trade Assoc. (the Seattle Boat Show people). Help us welcome Mark aboard as our newest monthly columnist on these pages. (See page 5 for REEL TIMES WITH MARK.)
Below is a letter from a reader who just happens to be from my birth city of Port Angeles, WA. Robert is right on so many concerns regarding hatcheries here in the Pacific Northwest. I chose this space for him to share his thoughts and truisms with you, as I share the same fears that he does.
I’m looking out my window, the water is blue, pancake flat and I know that just about every major river in our state is being netted and thousands and thousands of silver salmon are being taken as surplus. I also know I would gladly pay a tankful of gas money, to be able to fish for coho right now. I Spent 80 bucks for a state license that won’t let me fish. The state sells a crappy product. The state gave itself two years to figure out their budget problems. This is an insult.
The treaty tribes according, to their leader Lorraine Loomis, have already started to finance hatchery operations because of state budget cuts. Not only do they think the fish and rivers are theirs, they can see the economics of more fish being produced in hatcheries, which produces more for their take and some for you and me. If the tribes take over the hatcheries by proxy or default and the state just lets them, the battle will be lost. The state is committed to the treaty tribes and you can bet your bottom dollar they will continue to fish whether you do or don’t. There are 7 hatcheries in my region, Clallam County. Makah is Federal and manned by the Makahs. The one on Lower Morse Creek may be Federal. We are surrounded by hatcheries but there are no fish for you and me.
I subscribe to the near-daily announcements from the Point No Point agreements with the treaty tribes. It spells out how and when they can net. These are detailed guidelines including cautions not to harm fellow tribal members with treble hooks or pole gaffs. The fish caught are sold commercially. Have you ever seen a net full of fish? Stunning. The hatcheries should be financed with profits made from selling fish. Our licenses and fees used to support hatcheries. The state should turn the hatcheries over to the tribes, make them open their books and provide oversight so there is accountability. The hatcheries need to be run like a business. There needs to be a profit and loss statement along with specific goals. The state runs the hatcheries like a bureaucracy, seldom designed for profit or efficiency. If the state looks to trim their budget by reducing fishing opportunities, it means they have little regard for you or me.
If we do or say nothing the situation will not self-correct. The tribes will force the issue and will squeeze out the recreational fisherman. It is already happening. If the tribes take over by default they will double down on ownership. There has to be co-management from the state with you and me at the negotiating table.
I fear we will fish the last fish out of the pond.
Robert A Beausoleil, Port Angeles, WA