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WDFW MAKES DEALS IN A CALIFORNIA HOTEL BACK ROOM AND SAYS THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE OPEN MEETING LAW?

Washington Citizen Sportsmen
Tacoma, WA, United States

May 9, 2019 — 

An Article appearing in the latest Northwest Marine Trade Association Site contains some VERY DAMAGING information on WDFW's claim it is fully compliant with the Open Public Meetings Act! It also shows just how BROKEN the North of Falcon process is. We're sure the Judge is going to be interested in this information!

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"Participants in the NOF public involvement meetings have grown adept at understanding and working through the technical and political mechanisms of the yearly process but 2019 was different.

After five of the six weeks normally devoted to carefully viewing alternative seasons, analyzing the complex set of salmon stocks and fisheries being planned from Alaska to California, not even one Puget Sound sport-fishing season option had been laid out on the table for public review during the final NOF meeting in Lynnwood on April 3. Only about two hours was devoted to the Puget Sound sport salmon fisheries discussion.

WDFW was unable to provide such an alternative because they had agreed with their tribal co-managers to focus instead on Puget Sound chum issues that have virtually no effect on chinook and coho sport-fishing opportunities. This unplanned topic also averted WDFW from having any discussion of the serious issues potentially affecting fisheries with southern resident killer whales. All the vital public input on season preferences that reflect social and economic consequences of decisions was moved out of reach for most constituents to California.

“During this year’s (NOF) process the state and tribal co-managers spent many weeks talking about chum salmon which delayed the process of planning chinook fisheries within ESA driven exploitation rates,” said Carl Nyman, a WDFW Puget Sound recreational fishing advisor and President of the Charter Boat Association of Puget Sound. “Puget Sound chinook are always the most constraining species in the process and require more time to plan.”

Those who spent valuable time traveling to California arrived only to hear that WDFW decided to close places like the San Juan Islands (Marine Catch Area 7) during August which has the largest angler participation of a brief two-month summer salmon season. No discussion of alternative restrictions occurred prior to that decision like using the proven effective sport-fishing conservation tool of releasing wild chinook or only targeting abundant coho and pink returns. With final decisions made WDFW rationalized this draconian cut as having optimized angler opportunity throughout Puget Sound. Many ask where was the analysis during the public involvement process?

There was a handful of Puget Sound sport fishing interested citizens attending the California meeting where WDFW had meaningful conversation about alternative seasons other than the San Juan Islands.

However, providing creative and constructive input to WDFW over a matter of hours in a hotel backroom as agency leaders and staff are almost completely overwhelmed by continuous meetings with the co-managers was frustrating and unsatisfactory. The co-managers were apparently not interested in creative solutions to the problems, as WDFW reported frequently that proposals for alternative season structures might provide more sport opportunity were rejected as having an insufficient technical basis or that the co-managers didn’t have enough time for full review so late in the negotiations.

I believe that the WDFW staff has the best intentions, has the best modeling team for predicting fisheries encounters and are some of the hardest workers I have seen,” said Nyman who has been a part of the process for 20 years. “But they do not have a good negotiation position and the co-managers have significantly out maneuvered us several years in a row.”  end

You can read the full article here:

NMTA Article


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