Ballot initiative banning the harvest of any Wild Steelhead

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

  1. Nick Andrews

    Nick Andrews New Member

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    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. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    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. gt

    gt Active Member

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    i'd sign on and carry it around my area to help in getting the required signatures.
     
  4. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    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. WT

    WT Active Member

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    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.
    WT
     
  6. Nick Andrews

    Nick Andrews New Member

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    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. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

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    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. Nick Andrews

    Nick Andrews New Member

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    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. WT

    WT Active Member

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    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.
    WT
     
  10. Nick Andrews

    Nick Andrews New Member

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    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. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    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.

    Will
     
  12. East Fork

    East Fork Active Member

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    How about a bill to make the purchase or sale of wild steelhead illegal in Washington?
     
  13. Joe Gallagher

    Joe Gallagher New Member

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    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. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    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
    Curt
     
  15. gt

    gt Active Member

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    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.