The department biased on WSR - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 06-23-2004, 02:34 PM
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The department biased on WSR

So I got this letter this morning. I saw a draft of it last week and tried to point them the biased in this letter and they blew me off. Here is a quote:

"If you do support some amount of wild steelhead retention, the Commission would be particularly interested in hearing your views on what the annual limit should be."

What they are telling us is that want the moratorium or WSR No Exceptions is that they aren't particularly interested in hearing from us. The department has made no bones about not wanting this but this has gotten rediculous. This is a joke as I assume the commission meeting will be. I have lost faith in the system. If you feel inclined you should let the commission know that you find this biased if you do also.


JJ


June 23, 2004


Dear Interested Citizen:

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a hearing to receive public comment regarding possible amendments to Washington Administrative Code (WAC) rules related to the two-year wild steelhead retention moratorium. The hearing will take place on August 28, 2004, at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton, Washington, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The agenda will be posted soon on the Commission's webpage at the following URL: http://wdfw/wa/gov/com/meetings.htm

At the Commission's meeting on February 6, 2004, steelhead sportfishing rules were amended and a two-year wild steelhead retention moratorium was adopted. The Commission received many comments and a petition to initiate rulemaking in response to its action adopting the moratorium. On April 29, 2004, the Commission directed Department staff to commence rulemaking regarding the wild steelhead retention moratorium, and rule change proposals were filed on June 18, 2004.

The August 28, 2004, public hearing provides interested persons the ability to make oral comments to the Commission on the rule changes proposed by staff. The Commission is seeking public input on whether these proposed changes should:
· Be adopted as proposed, which would revoke the moratorium on wild steelhead retention, reopen 12 rivers to retaining wild steelhead, and allow anglers to retain 1 wild steelhead per day and up to 5 wild steelhead per licensing year (see "Proposed Rule Changes" on the enclosure);
· Be amended in some fashion that you describe (for example; a change in the annual limit for wild steelhead; reopening some, but not all, of the rivers; or other measures to restrict wild steelhead harvest); or
· Not be adopted (retain the current rules; see "Current Rules column" on the enclosure).

If you do support some amount of wild steelhead retention, the Commission would be particularly interested in hearing your views on what the annual limit should be. Although the staff proposal is to reinstate the previous annual limit of 5 fish, we want to consider a range of possible annual limits if the decision is made to allow wild steelhead retention.

The enclosed table details the current rules resulting from passage of the wild steelhead moratorium (middle column), and the staff proposals to reinstate the wild steelhead retention fisheries that were in place before the moratorium was adopted (right-hand column). The Commission is seeking input as to the best course of action in regard to the staff proposals. If you recommend amending the proposed changes, please include details of the amendments you would support and the reasons for your recommendation.

Oral testimony may be presented only at the August 28 meeting (three minutes maximum). You may also pre-submit those comments via email to: Commission@dfw.wa.gov.

If you are interested in providing comments on the proposed changes but are unable to attend the hearing, you should send your written testimony to the Commission at the above email or the following address:

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, WA 98501

After the August 28 public hearing, the Commission will consider adoption of the proposed rule changes during the next regularly scheduled Commission public meeting, scheduled for September 2, 2004, via telephone conference call. No public testimony will be taken during the conference call or at any time after the August 28 meeting. For information on how to attend the September 2 meeting, please contact the Fish and Wildlife Commission office at (360) 902-2267.

This letter is available in alternate formats upon request. Please contact (360) 902-2200 or TDD (360) 902-2207, and allow seven working days to process your request.

If you are a person of disability and require accommodation for attendance at the August 28 meeting, please contact Susan Yeager at (360) 902-2267.

We value citizen input and want to thank you for your interest in Washington's resources.

Sincerely,



Lew Atkins
Assistant Director
Fish Program
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2004, 05:57 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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This is the same WDFW staff who supported the 1 daily and 5 annual wild fish retention in the first place. That is nothing new. The letter (which I got emailed today from WDFW) also includes keeping the wild fish moratorium along with a third option of having some wild fish retention other than the 5 annual that its Forks area staff propoesed.

I suggest that we should all write to the commission to let them know we are in favor of WSR. However, I also have a strong prejudice that we should include a second option to the commission to allow only 1 wild fish to be retained annually and like Smalma has told us in his view on this before, that once this single wild fish is bonked, you must stop fishing for the day, and you cannot fish during March and April. This would allow a very limited kill fishery while providing quite a lot of protection for wild fish since it reduces the annual impact of a fisherman by 80%. This would also allow the commission to say they have not banned wild fish retention, and that would be good politically for silencing those who fear a total ban on fishing. Thus the fishermen would decide if he wished to keep his one fish and not be able to fish during March/April.

Seems like a win-win to me, although my preference is for statewide WSR year-round.

What we cannot do is roll over and play dead just because the WDFW staff wants to continue the 5 wild fish annual limit. We need to keep fighting for reduced harvest of wild fish and also keep in mind that about 75% if sportsfisher are in favor of WSR.
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Old 06-24-2004, 02:52 PM
OC OC is offline
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This is just my opinion and I want those who worked so hard for WSR know they did a great job and I will always have the greatest respect for the work they did.

But I really feel we politically put ourselves in a bad place. Reason being is that the way the number of returning wild fish are going on the OP that the state would have probably put a mandatory release on wild steelhead within the next 5 or 6 years. Even with release in the form of the 2 year moratorium numbers of wild fish would not recover and continue to drop. I hope most of us realized as we have talked long hours that wild release is more a concern issue of the state of our Washington Wild Stelhead than it is a cure.

There are many out there who will say I told you so including the State when after two years we oviously see nothing but more bad news. Let the State of Washington take the blame and I'm not saying just fish& game but the State and federal goverment in it's entirety for the demise of wild runs. Until or if ever the majority of people fishers and non fishers are so fed up with over development, not willing to help farmers change their ways and just backing down to money concerns then there is not much we can do. If we as fishermen are going to do something good them we should put all our efforts into educating the public about what is going on, really going on. Even then until the general public realizes that having a healthy enviroment is as or more important than their 5 thousand square foot house, their strip malls along the Skagit and all the other BS we won't save Salmon or Steelhead or the enviroment.

We can all say science can help and all sides say this. But we have been saying this for 60 years now and science has been nothing but a disaster on the most part. Is our ego such that we think our science is any better then 50 or 60 years ago. And what I mean by that is we always hear well we were wrong in our science 20 years ago but we know much more now. In twenty years from now will we still be saying the same thing? The best science is DON'T MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE. It is going to take the whole or the majority to change how they look at what is quality of life before we see change. It still is some years away maybe many. So let the state continue on in their political game of trying to please everybody because no real tough desissions are ever going to be made until it's really close to the end of what we fishermen love.

Let the state have their fish kill then just close it down.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2004, 12:12 AM
Sharp Steelie Sharp Steelie is offline
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Nature has a way of healing herself. It's when we muck with
it, that it gets messed up. I think the only way to truly save
Native Steelhead is to not fish for them at all until the runs
recover to their original strengths. Then manage the resource
very carefully. Maybe we should just close down some of
the remaining rivers that do still have returning natives and
rotate them until the runs are once again strong. Something
have learned the hard way - Once the machine (money) gets
rolling - it doesn't stop. That is the true root of the problem.
Every time one single species becomes extinct based off
of what we have done - we all suffer, whether we realize
it or not. I may be one of the most spoiled fly fishermen when
it comes to Steelhead - but if they had to close my favorite
river to save a wild run; I'm all for it!

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Old 06-25-2004, 09:33 AM
Ol Rich Ol Rich is offline
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I was thinking that one of the reasons some people are so dedicated to killing wild steelhead is they feel it may be the only fish they will catch this year.

Rich
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  #6  
Old 06-25-2004, 11:40 PM
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rich_simms rich_simms is offline
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Thumbs up

Hopefully this letter will inspire you to write or take time out and attend the hearing on 8/28 in Bremerton, I'm not going to allow the resource get pissed away. I will continue to fight for the fish I love, no matter the criticism or the opinions of misguideness, once this small issue is done than on to the next. Look at how many will attend a Spey Clave or a fly show, but it's like pulling teeth to go to a testimony have your say.

If the moratorium is considered bad politics, I have to look at this way; it sure as hell got people talking and provided visiblity about the conditions of our stocks. And it made the Q- tribe concerned about public resentment if they harvest or increase harvest on wild steelhead.

Sometimes you have to do something to initiate change, change will only occur when the status quo becomes too uncomfortable. Many of us talk that this should be done or that should be done, but really as fishermen nothing really goes far because the really big issues seem insurmountable.

My advice- do what you can do, but at least do, try and shake it up a bit, maybe some change for the better will occur, that's what keeps me going. Besides I know myself too well and the minute I become cynical I won't do anything except complain, go fishing and talk about the old days. Hopefully many of you will come out and support no matter how small it is in the grand scheme. If the moratorium isn't your bag call Homer, he "chips" at it, very well, I might add. I'm sure he can use some help on the many watershed committees that are making possitive changes.
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2004, 04:38 PM
Howzer Howzer is offline
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While I was also surprised to see the "if you support harvest ... we're especially interested in hearing from you" words in the WDFW letter, it may simply reflect the fact that other surveys (like the WDFW's) and polls (like the Forks Forum poll) found significant numbers of anglers in support of harvest, yet the testimony at the Port Townsend Commission hearing was 100% against wild steelhead harvest.

Then again, this time around there will surely be testimony from people that want to rescind the moratorium since they petitioned for the hearing! So why did they think it was necessary to encourage people from that side of this issue? Whatever the case, it's up to the public to show up at the hearings and make the desires known to the Commissioners.
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Old 07-01-2004, 06:55 PM
Leland Miyawaki Leland Miyawaki is offline
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I interpereted it as asking (and maybe hoping) for any other alternatives other than the staff proposal, the Forks rescinding, or no change (which is the moratorium).

I'm thinking that this is totally political and that the squeeky door is the one that will get greased. We must be at the meeting in great numbers and loud voice. Someone needs to speak for the fish.


Leland.
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Old 07-04-2004, 11:11 AM
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kush kush is offline
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Here is the letter I sent to the Commission. The fight for the proper management of wild steelhead is a very frustrating exercise indeed. It tends to wear out the best of us... This I fear is the method to its maddness - that we will eventually get tired and go away - we cannot allow this to happen! JJ et al, keep the faith and give 'em the whole nine yards!

Here is the letter:

July 4, 2004
Washington fish and Wildlife Commission,

As I will be unable to attend the August 28, 2004 meeting to present oral testimony re possible amendments to the two-year moratorium on the retention of wild steelhead, I would like to present it here.

I believe that your Commission should not only uphold its recent decision to place a two-year moratorium on the killing of wild steelhead, but in fact should make it indefinite. Washington State has a well-established hatchery system that can provide ample opportunity for those who wish to catch and kill a steelhead. To subject a wild steelhead to such treatment is unconscionable. That the wild steelhead of Washington are the epitome of their species is unquestioned. To believe that there are enough wild steelhead to justify the killing of them is shortsighted and can be considered as looking through rose-colored glasses.

Everywhere else in their range wild steelhead are threatened. Threatened by logging, by commercial fishing, by habitat destruction and by natural cycles of the ocean that are unfavorable to their prosperity. Yet, the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula still have considerable numbers of wild steelhead. This is fantastic, it is cause for celebration – not slaughter. Your Commission should thank its lucky stars that it has such a resource to shepherd. Rather than threatening this precious resource with a kill fishery you should be doing everything in your power to ensure that this population flourishes.

As for the political pressure that you face to allow the killing of wild steelhead, you must recognize that everywhere in the world where the salmonid resource has been “owned by the public” that it has ultimately been eradicated. The common man, it seems, cannot resist the competitive urge to catch the last fish – as he sees it as his right. This can be documented in Britain, in France, in Scandinavia, as well as the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada with respect to Atlantic salmon. A similar collapse of the Pacific Northwest’s salmon fishery is also well documented – the major difference is that here it occurred much more rapidly.

What government needs to do is rise above the myopia of the masses and be responsible for the resource and the future of the resource. Our children, their children’s children deserve to be able to fish for the magnificent wild steelhead. This generation does not have the right to deny them that. By not taking a stand at this time for the future of wild steelhead, I fear that there will be no need to even bother in another generation. Use your power to truly do what you are entrusted to do – that is manage the resource in a responsible and intelligent manner. Sometimes a responsible power has to make difficult and unpopular decisions, they do this because they know it right and in the best interest of the greater good.

To conclude, I urge you to uphold the current moratorium on killing wild steelhead and seriously consider making it a permanent policy.

Yours sincerely,


Tyler Kushnir

cc Wild Steelhead Coalition
Steelhead Society of British Columbia
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2004, 11:03 PM
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rich_simms rich_simms is offline
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Thanks Tyler for your support. I hope others will follow your example and get involved.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:04 AM
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jjohnson jjohnson is offline
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Tyler you the man. I owe you a single malt or ten.

JJ
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