Public Comment on WDFW Rule Making

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
The "Bottom Fish" thread "In The Salt" brought up a question that I felt deserved it's own discussion. Not sure if this is the place for it, but I'll let the moderator move it if need be...

The discussion of the black rock fishery at Neah Bay raised concern for the fishery, as the limits for retention are high... Smalma then asked the obvious question of these members... "Did either of you suggest changes in the rockfish limits to WDFW the last go-around with for regulations changes?" Ibn then provided an honest response to Curt's question.

With that said, I felt Curt would be the best to ask the following... And I want to preface it by stating Thank you Curt for all the great information you provide on this board and other boards.

Public Comment was the first thing that came to my mind on the black rockfish thread, and then, sure enough you posted the question... However, as that thread showed, most fishermen don't know enough facts about a fishery to make comments that can be useful to biologists. (IMHO)

I certainly think public input from the "Field" is important to Govt. agencies, as it can often point out problem areas, confirm suspicions of the expersts, and raise awareness of the resource users. However, even on fishery issues I am most familiar with, I don't feel qualified to make suggestions on setting limits/rules.

I'd much rather a Biologist make such decisions, and leave the fishermen and political types out of it. Rule making based on a biologists decision of what is best for the fishery is sound and will withstand attacks from public comment. Rule making based on input from user groups with thier own agenda will always generate emotional debate, and sometimes deplete a fishery :(

Am I off base here?

Jeff D


Active Member
Jeff -
Yes this is an appropriate topic for discussion and likely over due.

It has always been my belief that there are two key components to any fishing regulations. The first of course is the obvious - take care of the resource. The second is how do we as anglers want to use that resource within its biologically limits?

The management biologist should certainly be able to define what is needed to protect that resource for future generations. They should also be able to articulate to the anglers what the resource needs and to be able at least at a basic level supply interested anglers with a gross sense of the resource needs.

However the second aspect of the regulaion is much more murky. As we all know the angling community is hugely diverse ranging from bonking everything that the resource can sustain as quickly as possible to leave all the animals possible in the water to provide the best fishing (high catch/effort) possible even it means limiting the killing. Both of those options are possible (though of course not at the same time) without unduly jeoparadizing the resource.

The good way for anglers to get their desires on what aspects of a fishery they value the most to communicate with the managers. The process for proposing regulation changes is one way of doing that.

I for one don't know all that I would like about the dynamics of the ocean rockfish but I suspect that the fishery at Neah Bay does not represent a huge risk to the over all population. That however should not prevent caring anglers from suggesting changes. Is 10 fish/day really necessary for todays families table needs? What sort of manage generates the best "value" for the angling community? Are we willing to give up eating the fish to provide more consistent fishing? We are have opinions on those sorts of questions and getting those opinions to the managers gives one the chance to influence management in the direction that the angler wants.

It is important to recognize that angler desires can significiantly change over time. With todays desires it makes sense to emphasis harvest on say crabs (have not heard of much interest for a CnR crab season) while with say wild steelhead there is a growing segment of the angler community that feel the best use of fishing imapcts is in a CnR fishery. Do you want the biologist to make those calls for you?

I think it is well past the time for anglers to take some responsibility for the developement of the sort of management we may want. In that line I will continue to attempt to get anglers off their collective apathetic "duffs" and encourage them to get involved.

While pretty harsh it is my position that if you are not willing to get involved to influence management than no "whinning about mis-management". Maybe I'm in line for becoming "Grouchy Old Man #2".

Tight lines


Active Member
I have been advocating a rule for three years, that was partially implimented this year. It takes time. All suggestions from the public are just that, suggestions. But the more we suggest, the more we get...

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
Thanks for the response, you raise good points and certainly answered my questions with clear explanations.

Nailknot - Care to share what your "Rule" is, maybe some will see your issue the same way and speed up the process through additional comments. If you'd ratherKnot, I'd understand

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