Well, I guess I too was struck by the adept skill both speakers had at not answering questions. Which is to say, I saw their mouths moving, but when they stopped, I realized my questions were not answered. Must just be the political nature of these guys' jobs. Frustrating for me, and it must be frustrating for them. The good news I came away with is that it seems (according to Pete Van Gytenbeek) that they already have the votes they need for our coveted statewide wild steelhead release law to be passed next December. The strange news is that they're holding a big symposium on the issue in September as a courtesy to the minority that support c & k. I'm guessing the taxpayers will be footing the bill for what appears to be a political formality. Ah, democracy.
As for the accusations of lack of participation from the sportfishermen at the North of Falcon process meetings, I think there's a simple explanation. The other user groups (commercial and tribal) each have a clear mandate, and a direct financial stake in the outcome. It's a little more complicated under the heading of "sportfishermen." By this I mean that some of us want catch and release, some want catch and kill, some want flyfishing priority, some would rather have no seasons than c & r seasons, some want their piece of the pie in the salt, others fresh, etc...In short, we as a group are extremely fragmented and in many cases, in complete disagreement. Anyway, I don't know what the solution is, I just know it's an uphill battle to try to find a single, coherent voice from this group. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with the other two main groups, and that makes their cases more impactful to the politicians who want to please their constituents. Anybody have any ideas on this dillemma we face?
Other than all that, I did enjoy the meeting, learned a bunch about salmon harvest allocation (especially the explanation of why it seems the river anglers seem to get the short end of the stick), and it was great to see a lot of old friends and acquaintances--many of whom I hardly recognized out of waders and vests.
Lastly, if I have any advice at all for interested parties, it is this: Don't waste time fighting the Indians. Energy spent complaining about or working against this issue is better channeled into constructive solutions in areas we actually have some degree of control (and chance of success) in. Since the tribal fisheries are a fact of life, we just need to make the best of what we can.
Okay, that's it for now, hope everyone else is suffering the same March withdrawals I am.