STEELHEAD – SB 5199 HB 1172

….And I bet you thought your Senator, yes that would be Senator Van de Wege, would be “front-line” representing your best interest. WRONG!! Stabbed in the back again…….!

A mere 30 days (January 13, 2021) after Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) implemented their financially devasting rule prohibiting fishing from a floating device on Peninsula and Southwest Washington rivers your Senator, Senator Van de Wege, sponsored Senate Bill 5199. Identical legislation, HB 1172, was subsequently submitted in the House of Representatives.

So, what is SB 5199? It is an Act relating to recognizing judicially affirmed and treaty-reserved fishing rights and promoting state-tribal cooperative agreements in the management of salmon, trout, and steelhead resources; and repeals RCW 77.110.010, 020, 030, 040, and 900.

The referenced RCW’s became effective in 1985 and, as I read them, recognized the emergency of dwindling steelhead returns, established their classification as a game fish, and set forth protections of your rights relating to this valuable resource.

Should this legislation become law it appears all rights to, and control of, this valuable sporting and economic resource will be ceded to the Tribes. Thank you, Senator Van de Wege.

Now I am not a resident of your community. I am just a concerned citizen. One of many that contributed probably several thousands a year in coastal communities (primarily Forks) in the pursuit of steelhead and the spiritual retreat your beautiful rivers and scenery provide. I truly hate to see this come to an end.

My question is, have you folks had enough? First the spotted owl fiasco, then COVID, now steelhead! One financial hit after another. At what point will YOU stand up and demand accountability from your elected representatives? It surely seems that the time for action has arrived.

Jerry Effenberger

Concerned Citizen