We read with optimism your editorial from Tuesday over at the Northwest Treaty Tribes website. There are a lot of encouraging notes to be found, including your interest in taking a close look at the season setting process, and the early start the co-managers have undertaken. While we could debate some specifics, we choose to interpret your post as a plank in the bridge rebuilding process and will respond in kind..
Let’s tackle your requests:
You call on us help to do more to protect salmon habitat. Deal. We will unequivocally support these efforts, celebrate their successes, and take initiative on projects. We will provide editorial coverage and advocacy for these efforts frequently and enthusiastically.
Second, you ask for advocacy on hatcheries. Again, we pledge to be outspoken in our support for the improvement and enhancement on hatchery programs — be it funding, operational improvements, or compliance with governmental regulations. These pages will provide detailed and regular coverage, you have our promise.
Looking further for common ground, we would additionally suggest we combine our voices and forces to reduce the tremendous impacts of early-intercept fisheries (S.E. Alaska and British Columbia) on our local stocks. Surely together we can seize the opportunity presented by the forthcoming PFMC negotiations…
Okay, that’s a lot to be together on, and it’s a great start. We’ve agreed to be active advocating the two reasonable things you’ve asked for, and now we have two reasonable things to ask for in return…
First, we ask for your public support for enhanced transparency in our fisheries — be that in season setting or catch reporting. With a goal of increasing the trust between both parties, we suggest that transcripts or audio records of negotiating sessions should be published during (or even after) North of Falcon, so that there are no mis-characterizations of either side’s positions. Additionally, we’d support mutual “trust-but-verify” audits of catch by the other party. Reliable, trustworthy information replacing suspicion can only help us both.
Second, we ask for your recognition that while Hatcheries and Habitat/Hydro are critical factors in helping recover critical stocks, we additionally must talk openly about the fourth “H” — Harvest. For better or worse our collective fishing practices are often the only view much of the public has into complex world of salmon management and recovery. As such, it’s to our collective advantage to provide full transparency on how that fishing is conducted. Together we can communicate the incremental steps we co-managers have taken to limit impacts on critical wild stocks while accessing other abundant harvestable stocks. We do understand that each group has different values and methods of take — but we are asking for your support in efforts to conduct fisheries that collectively limit impacts on threatened and endangered species. Recreational marked selective fishing, for example, has allowed the State’s to capture its share of the harvest while reducing overall impacts. Everyone, including and most especially the endangered fish, wins with this sort of progress. We need your public and private support in these efforts.
We understand that many on both sides are justifiably skeptical of the other — we think the only path forward is ultimately together. We expect you will continue to keep us honest here, and we will do the same… This is as it should be — and is ultimately the only way to build up the trust that has eroded over time.
We look forward to your response and support.