Sunday, December 08, 2019

message from a reader,

Your message is critical to inform WDFW Director Susewind and the Commissioners that their current path is unacceptable to recreational anglers.  Stillaguamish Chinook is not threatened by recreational fishing; they are threatened because the habitat in the basin is too degraded for the Chinook to sustain themselves by natural production.  And the Department knows it.  WDFW closed the Stilly to sport fishing for 3 1/2 months in 2019 and currently proposes it for 2020, at least through June 30.  The reason for the closure is not conservation.  It is because the Tribes insisted that any sport fishing would pose too much harm to the Chinook.  And because the Tribes have all the power at North of Falcon, WDFW must cave to every tribal demand in order to piggy-back on the tribal/BIA Section 7 ESA permit that NMFS reviews and approves. 

Co-management works only when both parties share equal power in negotiations.  The present permitting system removes balance, giving tribes all the power in the process.  I hope you will consider revising your message to demand that WDFW pursue getting its own ESA permit from NMFS to restore balance to co-manager negotiations.  If they don't, we can expect the Stillaguamish River to continue this closure for the next 100 years, or until Stilly Chinook go extinct because they will not recover within our lifetimes.

I plan to attend the WDFW Commission meeting in Bellingham on Dec. 13 & 14 to testify on this and related sportfishing matters.  I hope you and others interested in sportfishing the Stilly will also.


Steve Fransen

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