Two-Year Moratorium Opened Back Up for Public Comment [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Two-Year Moratorium Opened Back Up for Public Comment

04-29-2004, 06:40 PM
Public hearing, formal rule-making process
to be held on wild steelhead moratorium

OLYMPIA-- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today voted to hold a hearing this summer to take public testimony on the commissionís recently imposed two-year moratorium on wild steelhead retention.

The 5-1 vote came after the City of Forks filed a petition with the commission requesting that a formal rule-making process be initiated on the moratorium issue. Such proceedings require a public hearing.

Commissioner Bob Tuck voted against initiating the formal rule making process. Commissioner Lisa Pelly was absent from the meeting.

Following the public hearing, which is expected to be held in August or September, commissioners could let their earlier decision stand, or they could modify or rescind the decision.

Commissioners voted 5-3 in February to impose the moratorium, which takes effect May 1. Wild steelhead retention already had been permanently banned in much of the state, but was still allowed on several Olympic Peninsula river systems where stocks are relatively strong.

Following the moratorium vote this winter, officials with the City of Forks and others voiced objections to the commissionersí action, saying the ban would pose economic hardships for their community, a popular destination for steelhead anglers.

04-29-2004, 10:27 PM
This sounds more like the commissioners voting to have the public hearing to prevent the "Let's sue 'em for having the moratorium without a public rule-making meeting" from continuing. Once the commission has a public hearing on it and then votes to retain the moratorium, the opponents will not be able to claim they had no imput. And the City of Forks, the Forks Chamber of Commerce, and the Quilyeute Tribe will not be able to cry foul or petition for another hearing on the rule. I'd say it was a good move for the commissioners to decide to go this route.

Those of us who are WSR proponents will have to remember to go to this commission meeting because rest assured, those opposed to WSR will show up "by the bus load", to use the terminology many WSR opponents did when describing the number of WSR proponents showing up at the February commission meeting. If we don't show up at the meeting, WSR will end.

04-30-2004, 01:23 AM
I said it on Bob's and I'll say it here:

Do not give up! Do not get discouraged! Keep up the good fight!

04-30-2004, 01:27 AM
Just some random thoughts I have over this issue. Sorry for double post to another site.

Even since I've been paying attention to the regs and the process, I've been perplexed. The politics and WDFW approach are important to understand before we wish regs to be. Often there are unintended consequences. While I support statewide wild steelhead release in principle, I'm not at all a proponent of blanket regs. Reason? If we had blanket regs we wouldn't be fishing for dollies, probably not coho, no chinook, or any other species that is hurting in much of the range, but healthy in a few watersheds. The response to the WSR reg from many angles has been clear: If we can't harvest them, the season should be closed. My opinion is much of this sentiment is simple resentment from OP locals, but still, the WDFW has indeed followed this concept in the past. My guess is the Feds would just as soon see all rivers closed to fishing if any species listed as ESA Threatened are present, no matter the specific watershed conditions. We need to be aware of all the complex political issues that could bite sport opportunity in the butt- and this reg should serve as a great case study. Proceed with caution. I advocate steelhead release for the benefit of sport fishing. Yes I want to see the species return to former levels, but if I can't fish anymore in the process, I doubt my energy will be there, and many others, and then the legacy of fly fishing steelhead will be gone, forever.

I'm very disappointed in Forks' response to this issue, but not at all surprised. I hope the new process reflects the same outcome, but I hope we make sure to show the motivation as economically and sport friendly to the OP. If not, the ultimate outcome is clear- with no conservation measures, we are counting the days. With that in mind, I'll be on the OP, getting all I can, bloody as anyone, since the outcome is predetermined. If my tax dollars are supporting the killing, I'm gonna get mine while the gettin's good. And I'll take all my friends, and we'll kill all the steelhead we can, just as the Fork's Chamber of Commerce wishes us to do. Either way, when the steelhead are run into oblivion, my tax dollars will be supporting the community out there, until they can actually plan and execute a viable economic strategy for the future. I feel deeply sorry for those locals who can't see the upside. Time will tell...

04-30-2004, 01:54 AM
What if WSC changed tactics and pushed for C&R on only the rivers that remain open to wild steelhead kill? This angle would take the wind out of the "blanket reg" argument but accomplish the same goal. The science supports it! Let's get down and dirty politics. Getting beat by City of Forks is embarrassing. Steelhead have C&R in almost every river, let's look at the few left and take them on one at a time? This will set a better precedent as well. The OP rivers do not belong to the Forks City Council.

04-30-2004, 11:19 AM
Excellent point!

And by the same token, public lands, be it city, state, or federal, do not belong to those government bodies to do with as they please. Those lands belong to us, the public! Not to big money corporations. The govenments job is to hold and protect those lands for future generations. They are not for sale, or for lease to be raped for profit! :tsk_tsk:

Now how do we pound that philosophy into these boneheads?:mad: