Protecting the Interests of Recreational Fishers

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Greg, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Greg Member

    Posts: 316
    Gig Harbor, WA, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    That's the title of HB-2055 that was introduced today in the WA Legislature by Representatives Cooper, Upthegrove, Berkey. The Bill received a first reading and then referred to Fisheries, Ecology & Parks. I've pasted the Bill narrative below as an FYI though you can also review it online at Just type 2055 as the Bill number when you get there.

    AN ACT Relating to protecting the rights of recreational anglers in the marine waters of Washington; adding a new section to chapter 77.12 RCW; creating a new section; and declaring an emergency.


    {+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 1. The legislature finds and declares that recreational fishing is one of the most popular outdoor sporting activities in this state. The vast number of individuals who take to the waters of Washington for the purpose of recreational fishing make a substantial contribution to the state and local economy. Recreational fishing also makes a substantial contribution to the quality of life in this state. The legislature further finds and declares that recreational fishers have long demonstrated a conservation ethic through their abidance with fisheries management laws and rules including minimum size requirements, bag limits, seasonal closures, and through the use of non-lethal fishing gear. The legislature further finds and declares that the ocean, bays, and estuaries are some of Washington's most important natural resources. Effective planning, assessment, and management in the conservation of the resources of the ocean, bays, and estuaries are important tools, which must be utilized effectively to protect the marine environment. The legislature further finds and declares that the marine environment can be adequately protected without unnecessarily closing off areas of this state's ocean, bays, or estuaries to recreational fishers. Therefore, the legislature declares the necessity of the enactment of this act to ensure that the fishing public's interest and the interests of the marine environment are both adequately protected.

    {+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 77.12 RCW to read as follows:
    The marine waters of the state of Washington may not be permanently closed to recreational fishing unless:
    (1) There is a clear indication that recreational fishing is the cause of a specific conservation problem and that less severe conservation measures, including but not limited to, minimum size requirements, bag limits, or seasonal closures will not adequately provide for conservation of the affected stocks of fish;
    (2) The closed area rules include specific measurable criteria to determine the conservation benefit of the closed area on the affected stocks of fish and provide a timetable for periodic review of the continued need for the closed area at least once every three years;
    (3) The closed area is no larger than that which is supported by the best available scientific information as determined by the department; and
    (4) Provisions are made to reopen the closed area to recreational fishing whenever the basis for the closure no longer exists.

    {+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 3. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.

  2. LDR New Member

    Posts: 97
    North Bend, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    someone don't like marine reserves....
  3. Surf_Candy Member

    Posts: 804
    Bainbridge Island, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks Greg for this post. FYI the bill is 2205.

    I'm confused - it looks like all fluff - it does nothing more than they do now - "Hey, no fish, let's close it for a bit and see what happens" - did you read anything into it?

    At least they put in writing that the recreational fishery is good for the state $-wise, but nothing about development, commerical harvesting, logging, shoreline management etc.

    Jim W:reallymad
  4. ray helaers New Member

    Posts: 1,088
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    It appears to make it harder -- but not impossible -- to create permanent marine reserves where no fishing would ever be allowed. The problem that I see is that there might be some arguably good reasons to create a reserve at a particular place that would seem to be precluded by this bill, research for instance that might potentially improve fishing in all areas. Unfortunately sometimes it might be advisable to preserve the best of what we have left first, to have any chance of recovering the other areas.

    And I am concerned about the language that would require linking damage to sportfishing before closing an area. Sportfisihing is probably only very occasionally a major factor in a marine fish's decline, but closing sportfishing could still conceivably be a biologically appropriate management response no matter what the cause of the decline was. That would certainly seem and/or be unfair, but I'd rather feel ripped off than have the fish vanish.

    I acknowledge that the bill includes a lot of caveat and wiggle room. And I appreciate that the intent seems to be to require thorough work and consideration before taking what is admittedly a drastic step. And I'm always against closing fishing for no good reason. But sometimes a lack of data is exactly what should require the most conservative approach. We shouldn't always place the burden of proof on the resource itself.
  5. Steelnerves New Member

    Posts: 24
    Woodinville, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I hope you did not mind that I qouted your post a put it up on another forum???
  6. Madison New Member

    Posts: 85
    Newcastle, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Yep. What Ray said.
  7. BOBLAWLESS New Member

    Posts: 2,879
    Port Ludlow, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You must be a lawyer, Ray. You sure think and write like one. I share your concerns. Either the resource collapses and sports are proven to have been the reason,
    or nothing can be closed to fishermen, regardless of the situation.
    Sounds good and will get some votes. But I'm personally very uneasy about this and, were I elected to the house,
    I would vote no.:thumb
  8. LDR New Member

    Posts: 97
    North Bend, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Some of the most respected marine biologists in the world believe strongly that marine reserves are an extremely important tool that can be used to protect marine fisheries. Most of the science suggests that they provide tangible benefits, not only to the area being protected, but to surrounding waters. I believe that the decisions of
    -the extent to which they are needed in washington,
    -where they should be, and
    -how big they should be
    should all be made by the people with years of scientic training and whose job it is to figure this out. I am firmly against fish and wildlife management decisions, at least on this level, being made by legislators or by referendum. Let the experts decide if the marine reserves are necessary, the politicians can then play politics and do what they will.
  9. jackchinook Member

    Posts: 314
    Winthrop, WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    Well said, LDR...
    I have attended several conferences on Marine Reserve Areas, their benefits etc. and I know a few scientists who are vehemently opposed to them. However, the vast majority of people in the science world I know are very supportive of them. Yet lawmakers don't seem to want to make them a precedent. Sad really since their use hasn't really been given a fair chance on a larger scale. It's typical though; the managing of the natural resource can be easy while the managing of the people involved in it is nearly impossible.
  10. Greg Member

    Posts: 316
    Gig Harbor, WA, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Arbitrary closures that restricts recreational angling in the name of conservation as the first step toward resource preservation or recovery is what I have a problem with. If there's basis in scientific fact to justify creating an MPA fine, but not if its being done only to pander to someone’s knee-jerk idea of conservation.

    Here’s an example of what I mean and perhaps you could help me understand the “expert’s” rationale at these two MPAs: The Colvos Passage MPA doesn't allow fly fishing for salmon but does allow trolling for salmon. A few miles to the South at Zee's Reef a recreational angler can fly fish for salmon but can’t troll for them. Both of these MPAs were established at the recommendation of the experts for the very same reason: to protect the bottom fish.

    Another example: In early 2002, an effort to create an MPA at Scatchet Head off Whidby Island was made. This MPA was ultimately not approved because “…a boundary could not be determined that would be enforceable to boaters without radar or GPS onboard…” Let’s see if I’ve got this right…someone decided an MPA was needed off Skatchet Head but since it wouldn’t be ENFORCEABLE to boaters without Radar/GPS then its really not needed. Yet at the same time the Zee’s Reef Marine Preserve was approved which is described in WAC 220-16-790 as "…a line beginning at the extreme low water line on the northeast side of Fox Island at 47° 14.56' N, 122° 35.98' W, then 0.5 nautical mile northerly along the extreme low water line to 47° 14.96' N, 122° 36.37' W, then northeasterly 400 yards offshore to 47° 15.10' N, 122° 36.16' W, then southeasterly parallel to the extreme low water line to 47° 14.70' N, 122° 35.76' W, then southwesterly to the point of origin…” Now that’s much easier to define and enforce without a GPS on board, isn’t it?

    There are 160 or more MPAs of one type or another in Puget Sound already but so many agencies can create MPAs that nobody knows where they are all at. Any extremist lobby (e.g. PETA, HSUS, WWF etc) can have one created for whatever reason and that can result in arbitrary restrictions being placed on the recreational angler. That is what I am against.

  11. rockfish Member

    Posts: 730
    Manchester, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    rockfish take awhile to get to spawning size, people keep the big ones to release the little ones, actually you should keep the little ones and release the big ones if you even want to keep them at all. dives around rockfish habitat have showed a very small percentage of spawners due to overfishing in the past. so they put these mpa's to keep a area for spawners to produce and the little ones to find a home away from the reef which they due because if you fish a likely area within a mile to a reef you can catch them all day for a good day of shallow water catch and release. divers go to spots and pull up slings of adult spawning rockfish and lingcod. so there is a need for a mpa. these bottomfish dont grownup in 3 years and spawn, some live for a 100 years or so. so all this talk about there taking our fishing spots should be more thought out.