Members of the Committee:
Thank you for your service to the sports fishermen and the residents of many coastal communities that have experienced and enjoyed, in prior years, the significant benefits of seasonal steelhead returns. Hopefully, your contribution will have positive influence on restoration of this treasured and extremely valuable resource. Each of you has a unique opportunity – please, don’t waste it!
Unfortunately, it appears the Committee got off to a really bad start. The Agenda provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) should have been rejected. Not that the issues are not valid – they just are meaningless unless the killing stops.
The impact of the 1974 “Boldt” decision cannot be denied. Drastically diminished resource is the inevitable – and predicted – result of year upon year harvest significantly greater than 50% of return.
I am not naïve. The 1974 decision regarding fishing rights confirms that established by Treaty. I believe this to be indisputable. However, the Treaty does not speak regarding percentage of resource distribution. “50% plus” is an arbitrary distribution established solely by the presiding Judge…..
Tribal membership comprises 1.4% of the population of the State of Washington. It is important to note that Tribal membership includes a significant number that have as little as 1/8th heritage.
Does it seem logical, and right, that 1.4% of the population of the State, a significant number of which are of a mere 1/8 heritage, should be able to continue to kill such significant numbers of a dwindling resource? This is the AGENDA item that should be at the top of the list. Failure of the Committee to address this issue renders all else moot. The killing must stop, and WDFW must seek Federal judicial resolution in the form of a much more equitable, and resource-friendly, distribution coupled with a viable compliance monitoring plan.
1. 10% to 15% Mortality from “catch and release” is a lie!
2. “No fishing from a floating device” discriminatory, prejudicial, dangerous, ineffective!
Time is running out. The Committee really needs to move forward on what is absolutely necessary to save the resource. Favorably resolved, resource enhancement discussion is certainly in order.
Paid for by Jerry Effenberger