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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Step 1:

Read the article at the "Tidal Exchange" site about the disappearing Lake Washington hatchery coho. After accounting for the sport and tribal (Muckleshoot) catch totals, 10,000 hatchery coho go missing between the locks and the Issaquah hatchery.
https://tidalexchange.com/2017/03/20/numbers-dont-add-tribal-catch-questioned/

Step 2:

Our elected representatives table and pass legislation exempting tribal catch data from public disclosure. AFAIK it passed 45-0 in the senate

(http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/...ew_leg_action_-_the_numbers_w.html#Post975253)

"SB 5761.E - DIGEST
(AS OF SENATE 2ND READING 3/03/17)
Exempts the following from disclosure under the public
records act: (1) Tribal fish and shellfish harvest
information shared with the department of fish and wildlife;
and
(2) Commercial shellfish harvest information shared with
the department of fish and wildlife.

SB 5761 - 2017-18

Exempting certain confidential fish and shellfish harvest information from disclosure under chapter 42.56 RCW, the public records act."
 

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Sounds shady to me. Do they give an explanation for this? Not the missing salmon, but a reason for hiding the catch records?
 

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There argument is that they are a sovereign nation and only need to relay information at a government to government level. However, this does not work well when you are co managing a natural public resource with state citizens. These recent pushes for non disclosure and an unwillingness to be transparent about negotiations just goes to prove what most of us all ready know. They are going to do as they please and only relay the information they want. Accurate or not.
 

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This is being presented as a response to complaints from commercial fishers that the general public (including their competitors) can request catch location data that represent a competitive disadvantage to them. I can see where that makes some sense, but I see a potential double-edged sword scenario.

A PP user (who knows his stuff) posted in the thread over there that this really doesn't do anything to exempt the Tribes from reporting their catch to WDFW, nor does it meaningfully change what information they provide. What it does do is to exempt WDFW from disclosing some of the data commercial fishers provide to the public via the Public Records Act.

Personally, considering that WDFW has sided with the Tribes in their assertion that the public should not be allowed in WDFW-Tribe fisheries meetings, I'm not sure they are our friends in the fight for transparency. As such, I don't think we want a filtered version of their data to be our only source of commercial catch data. Furthermore, I don't like affording them the opportunity to choose what data they should or should not be required to disclose. (This does set a precedent for future exclusions.)

I'm also not convinced that catch location isn't a potentially important datum in analyzing commercial harvest impacts. In the Lake Washington Coho Vanishing of 2016, it seems to me that catch location would provide the most damning evidence of wrongdoing, if indeed there was any. Of course, we don't have any data on those fish at all, so I guess we aren't being denied anything....

Here's the part that scares me and makes me think something much bigger is wrapped up in that bill than meets the eye:

If the change it prescribes is as minor and insignificant as some would suggest, why was this bill important enough to even garner interest (considering the budget issues that are yet to be resolved), let alone get a 45-0 passage in the Senate? Why would all 45 senators be able to get behind ANYTHING, let alone something "minor?" I agree that something stinks. At best, the bill seems really unnecessary to me. At worst, I fear it's the beginning of the end of public disclosure of commercial fishing data.
 

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To me commercial fisherman (tribal and non tribal) should at a minimum have to disclose which marine area or river there fish were harvested in. That information should be available to the public. That is the minimum requirement of recreational fisherman, I don't see why someone making money off of the resource would not be held to the same standard if not a higher one. Of course what is right and what is required by law is often times not the same.
 

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To me commercial fisherman (tribal and non tribal) should at a minimum have to disclose which marine area or river there fish were harvested in. That information should be available to the public. That is the minimum requirement of recreational fisherman, I don't see why someone making money off of the resource would not be held to the same standard if not a higher one. Of course what is right and what is required by law is often times not the same.
I used to be a commercial fisherman [non tribal] and I would always have to report the area that the fish were caught in, not the river. I have heard reports in the past about tribal fish not showing up on catch records. Think about it, if they do not report all the fish then their 50% just got higher.
 

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I used to be a commercial fisherman [non tribal] and I would always have to report the area that the fish were caught in, not the river. I have heard reports in the past about tribal fish not showing up on catch records. Think about it, if they do not report all the fish then their 50% just got higher.
That is the problem. Not only are our co managers gaming the system but they dictate how the system works for all involved.
 
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