Nof Meetings

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#1
I saw this on several other boards and thought it this was worth posting here.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2tWjgmgVy3yUWtFUlB3c3RKQ1U/view

I've always wondered why these meeting were closed to the public and why there is so much secrecy behind them.
After this years salmon seasons, perhaps some transparency is called for.
Open meetings would allow us to see how we are being represented by WDFW on our behalf and what type of power plays go on between the co-managers.
SF
 
#3
Yeah I have always thought it was completely wrong and probably illegal the way they segregate each user group during the NOF meetings. The conversations of each user group along with the WDFW should be made available to the public. Blows my mind how the WDFW meets with the tribes and non tribal commercial fisherman in private. You think we would at least have the rights to transcripts of what was said behind closed doors.
 
#4
You would think that this law applies:

Open Public Meetings Act


Washington Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), codified in chapter 42.30 RCW, requires that all meetings of governing bodies of public agencies, including cities, counties, and special purpose districts, be open to the public.

The OPMA contains specific provisions regarding regular and special meetings, executive sessions, the types of notice that must be given for meetings, the conduct of meetings, and the penalties and remedies for violations.

What Is a "Meeting"?
A "meeting" under the OPMA occurs when a quorum of a city council, board of county commissioners, or other governing body (including certain kinds of committees) gathers with the collective intent of transacting the governing body's business. In order to be valid, ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, orders, and directives must be adopted at meetings conducted in compliance with the OPMA.

Also, note that meetings do not have to be in person to be subject to the OPMA. Meetings can occur by telephone, email, or other electronic media.

Who Is Required to Comply?
The following local government bodies are required to comply with the OPMA:

  • Governing bodies of public agencies: city and town councils, boards of county commissioners or county councils, or special purpose district boards of commissioners.
  • Governing bodies of subagencies, including planning commissions, library boards, parks boards, and civil service commissions.
  • Certain committees of governing bodies that act on behalf of (exercise actual or de facto decision-making authority for) the governing body, conduct hearings, or take testimony or public comment. See the blog post State Supreme Court Says Advisory Committees Are Not Subject to the OPMA.






http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Legal/Open-Government/Open-Public-Meetings-Act.aspx
 

HBB

Active Member
#9
NOF is a Federal deal, though, isn't it? Would WA statute still apply to a Federal process?
It's a little more complicated than that, but that's more or less part of the problem.

I appreciate what THFWA and others are trying to do, but they don't seem to understand that this has been litigated extensively in the past, and their viewpoint has been rejected. There's a 1992 Washington Supreme Court opinion that addresses the applicability of Washington's OPMA to the NOF process; it's worth reading if you are interested in these issues. It's available online here: http://law.justia.com/cases/washington/supreme-court/1992/57757-9-1.html

I haven't really studied this issue, but I'm not aware of anything that would change the outcome if this was litigated again today. This seems like an issue that needs to be addressed through legislation, not litigation.



*Edited to add the holding from the opinion linked above if you just want the bottom line: "The OPMA does not apply to the Columbia River Compact and 'North of Falcon' negotiations, as these are neither meetings of a governing body of Fisheries nor decisions binding on the agency." Salmon For All v. Dep't of Fisheries, 118 Wn.2d 270, 279, 821 P.2d 1211, 1216 (1992).
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#10
I think everyone would agree that having more transparency in this process would be a good thing.
The way it is now, it is like some secret society where two groups meet in a dark room and emerge to proclaim...."here are your salmon seasons, live with it" and that is it.
We have no control over what the tribes want and ask for, but we should at least be informed and be able to see how the state is negotiating on our behalf.

Curt made some good points in this post on PP.
I do like the in-season quota updates, but they need to be done as frequently as possible.
WDFW isn't known for collecting data and posting it in a timely manner, but I still think it is possible to get updates done quickly with the technology available today.
SF
 
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#11
The WDFW is representing us while all of this is done with our tax dollars and license fees. It makes zero sense to me how they can keep us in the dark. Transcripts of all NOF meetings should be available to the public at the very least. I am tired of the back door deals, trading fisheries for others not based on science and the WDFW bending to the tribes will. It all just seems completely wrong and should be illegal.
 

HBB

Active Member
#12
Transcripts of all NOF meetings should be available to the public at the very least.
I'm not sure if I understand what you are looking for, but all of the NOF briefings to the state fish & wildlife commission are already available online (audio only, I don't think anyone is generating a transcript). Here's the most recent: http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2016/01/audio_jan2216.html

Have you tried a public records request? There's a fair chance that some materials are going to be withheld under a deliberative process exemption, but you should be able to get quite a bit of information with a properly worded request.
 
#14
If I wanted to hear the same rehearsed political bull s**t from the WDFW like in the briefings provided in the link I would just send them more emails or continue to call them. WDFW should not be a welfare program. We are paying them to do a job and getting shafted in return.
 
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