Although I know what a ratsnest the tribal debate can be, I think the best gestures are those where the tribes support sensitive fishery regulations. Over the years, these have been the best way to de-fuse the angst people have about netting. When Indian nets stay out to show support for sensitive fisheries, it proves that we share the same interests in the welfare of the species. I've found myself sticking up for tribes in discussions with irate sportsmen after they hold the nets out this way.
On the other hand, when nets go in despite runs that are in trouble, it flies in the face of this common interest and only increases the tension. Certainly with casinos, shellfishing, and other money-making ventures going, the steelhead's moderate market value as meat is far less important than the welfare of the run for the future... or so one would think.
I agree, it's insane.
If anyone is interested in sending mail to the tribal chariman...
Floyd Williams, Chairman
Upper Skagit Tribal Council
2284 Community Plaza
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
I will be sending my letter over the next couple of days.