Ballot initiative banning the harvest of any Wild Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Nick Andrews, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. What would people think about a proposed ballot initiative banning the harvesting of any Wild Steelhead? This would have no actual legal effect as any treaty with the tribes would trump this hypothetical initiative. If the initiative were to pass this would be a tremendous show of state wide support for the preservation of Wild Steelhead. I think that such a symbolic show of support bring more leverage to the bargaining table with the tribes. This initiative would also banned the non-tribal harvesting of wild steelhead as well, which would show a commitment by the sportsman to save wild steelhead. At a time where environmental issues seem to be moving to the forefront the time may be soon to make such a move. Lastly, this would take the power out of the hands of WDFW when the time comes to reconsider wild steelhead retention. Any thoughts???
  2. Without knowing for sure, my hunch would be that conservation groups such as the Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Wild Fish Conservancy etc have pondered something similar...?

    Is Tim Eyman a fisherman?
  3. i'd sign on and carry it around my area to help in getting the required signatures.
  4. It takes so many signatures to get an initiative on the ballot that you either have to have an issue that gets people's blood boiling (gay marriage, taxes, abortion, environment) or pay people to get your signatures for you. Most of the time you need both and it's still a tough haul.

    I don't think that the initiative process is the solution here.
  5. Those kinds of initiatives are problematic, next thing you know someone will be pushing one through that bans hunting and fishing altogether. Be careful of what you wish for.
  6. A initiative banning hunting and fishing would be unconstitutional as it would address more then one issue. Also there are 2.4 million (give or take) licensed sportsmans in Washington State, which is only 400,000 less then the total voters combined for all three gubernatorial race of 2004. My point is such an initiative would never pass. Additionally, my same argument would apply to being able to get the signatures. Lastly, if not a ballot initiative, what other ways do members think could be under taken to stop the harvest of wild steelhead?
  7. I don't think the initiative would ban hunting or fishing. It would restrict the take of wild steelhead only. Something that is already the case in most other states.

    We need direct talks with the tribes without fish and wildlife playing middle man.

    My personal obligation is to educate people on the subject. That is really what it is going to take to get people to move and protect something. They have to understand what they are going to be missing out on. When they do public opinion will shift towards conservation.

    Unfortunately, with the way that the status quo is, we will lose 99% of our fish before it becomes enough of an issue that the average person will hear about it. That is what my personal view of WDFW's past track record is. That is why I fear the situation in the Skagit regarding the char. They don't close a season unless things are bad bad...
  8. Jeremy, I agree that direct talks should be the method used to resolve this situation. Though my I lack the faith in the tribes to even sit down and talk with the sportsman, let alone follow through on any commitments. Has the Wild Steelhead Coalition ever attempted such a discussion?
  9. Do you remember the initiative to ban baiting bears and hunting with hounds? It was unconstitutional and it passed despite lots of folks saying that it never would. It's still in the books too, unenforceable but in the books nonetheless.
    Now you're suggesting that we should have the entire voting population, most of who don't know why they should vote for such an initiative, legislating fish and wildlife regulations. Does not compute.
    My feeling is that the initiative process is not the best way to ban the retention of wild steelhead, but it's good that you are thinking about it and I'm glad that you brought it up so that I could think more about it.
  10. I agree that the initiative process actually is not the best way to deal with this situation. I would prefer to meet with the Tribes either with or independently of WDFW to start discussion. I feel that the only way we will make any progress is stopping tribal and non-tribal harvest of Wild Steelhead all together. That applies to incidental catches that occur during Salmon harvest.

    In my opinion, I think you are also way off base comparing a ban baiting bears and hunting with hounds with banning hunting and fishing and the rough numbers I pulled from the WDFW support that argument. If I were old enough to vote for the ban baiting bears and hunting with hounds I would have done so.
  11. A few years ago the wild steelhead coalition was formed with the sole purpose of closing EVERY river in WA to wild steelhead harvest. They almost succeeded too until a group of politicos and business interests on the West End of the OP threw a fit. Step one to stopping Wild steelhead harvest in our state is getting enlightened management out of WDFW. Maybe the listing of PS steelhead will be a wake up call? I attended a meeting of the WSC this month and there were some folks from WDFW there. They seemed to have their hearts and minds in the right place, trouble is they're still buearocrats who are subject to the whims of morons like Jim Buck and the people on the fish and wildlife commision. I dont know much about the current composition of the fish and wildlife commission, but historically I believe they have been decidedly PRO harvest.

  12. How about a bill to make the purchase or sale of wild steelhead illegal in Washington?
  13. I have found that most tribes, especially there biologists are more than happy to sit down and talk with the sportsmen. I know of one instance where a tribal biologist in the last few days has taken a boat ride with a recreational fisher on the snohomish system to see for himself the lack of chums.

    They are willing to talk.

    Wild steelhead wise I think we have come along ways from just 10 years ago, and I thank the Wild Steelhead Coalition for that. I know that they are still working hard to get statewide release. What they need is more members. So if your not a member you should be. They have proven that they can make changes to the way the state manages steelhead.
  14. I agree with some of the others - I think approach this issue via an initiative banning the harvest of any wild steelhead is a bad idea.

    It is a difficult process that requires significant funding and a unified support base. Not sure that Washington anglers have either. And there is always the potential for the effort to back-fire.

    If soem decide to go down that path I would request that the folks involved take the time to put their facts together. Going off half cocked will only serve to discredit the angler community as a whole.

    Not to pick on any one individual however an example of not doing your homework is illustrated by this quote made by Jeremy earlier in the disucssion -

    "It would restrict the take of wild steelhead only. Something that is already the case in most other states."

    In fact that is not the case at all. There are 5 pacific coast states that have wild steelhead (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California). Only Idaho bans the take of any wild steelhead - the rest (80% allow some killing of wild steelhead).

    Talking directly with the various tribes is good idea. It has the potential to be educational to both parties. A number of the Tribes would probably consider such discussions. However my advise is that if you are going to proceed in that direction approach the Tribal folks as an information gathering excerise - getting the information to understand where they are coming from, their needs, etc. In addition think about our own desires and have your arguements well put together. It may be a difficult sell that it is ok for us to target wild fish to play with them (and kill some) but they can not kill some for their ceremonies or excerising their treaty rights.

    Tight lines
  15. so long as there is a market for wild steelhead, the native americans will simply continue to kill these fish. i believe it is that simple. the possibility of killing a single wild steelhead, by the sport fishing community, on specific river systems, is a drop in the bucket. the real issue here is the indiscriminate set nets, on all rivers, killing whatever happens along.

    the 'poll' post had me calling attention to another restaurant offering quillayute wild steelhead. as i just posted on the thread, the owner/chef got back to me and was totally unaware regarding the killing of wild steelhead being an issue. hopefully, i have done a small part in drying up another market for the indians selling these fish.

    so, if you have the opportunity, help explain to others you know, or don't know, just why this is an issue for every citizen in WA. you just never know if that convert is going to also go ahead and tell several other folks about this issue.

    speaking with the tribes, as long as there is a market for their product, is just whistlin' in the dark, nothing will change at all.
  16. Curt,
    I agree with your comments and glad you have added to the discussion. I do believe that tribes should be able to take a limited amount for ceremonies as that is important to keep those cultural heritage alive. At what point do those of us sportsman and tribal exercising are right to retain fish reach the tipping point of putting a species into extinction? I would be more then willing to sacrifice targeting wild steelhead. So because I am not a member of this site that is all talk, I have paid my membership dues to the Wild Steelhead Coalition. I look forward to participating as a member. I did not write this tread to endorse such a ballot initiative, but see what could be done with the power of the voters and draw discussion to solutions to stopping the harvest of wild steelhead.

    I actually think that Washington State should close one river on the OP for ten years. No fishing, no developing, no netting, no hatchery plants and improve the habit to promote wild fishery restoration (Salmon, Steelhead and Trout. During that time study the increase or even decrease of returning wild fish. Has anything of this nature been discussed or approached?
  17. Dead on:thumb:

    Speaking of whistlin' in the dark... what's the point of another law when the ones on the books already are sporadically enforced? :confused:
  18. Because the tribes are a co-manager the state could not do this without the tribes signing on. I would say that that wouldn't happen.
  19. I wanted add this because it was a little upsetting to see this happening. A friend of mine in law schools husband went fishing for his bachelor party in Lewiston, ID. He nor anyone in his group fish or have any knowledge of handling rules for Wild Steelhead. They released all of these fish, but I thought that the guide would not allow such handling. I have no idea if ID has the same handling rules when releasing fish, but I would think that allowing them to be taken out of the water would be a big no, no. I was told these were all wild steelhead, but from the pictures cannot confirm this, though I was told they were all released. I was also told they all caught three or four fish a day, not bad for a bunch of drunk guys with no fishing experience.

    I have to admit I too am guilty early in my steelheading career of this, but that was prior to education of others (members of this site) and the state changing the regulations.
  20. Joe,
    I realize the tribe with rights to that river would need to sign on, but I just think such an experiment would be interesting to follow. I am also looking forward to the restoration of the Elwah system and if I were in charge I would use that river for this experiment. This would be much like what they have done around Mt. St. Helen's after the blast.

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