If more light isn’t shed on state-tribal salmon negotiations, anglers may take their case for transparency to court.
That was the bottom line of a TV story yesterday as we near the beginning of the annual North of Falcon season-setting process.
The past two have been bruising affairs and sport fishermen feel we haven’t been getting our fair share. So a petition asking the Fish and Wildlife Commission and WDFW to open the secret talks has been posted and to date has gathered nearly 1,200 signatures.
The cause got a good boost yesterday when KING 5’s Alison Morrow went for a boatride on the Chehalis with members of the Twin Harbors Fish and Wildlife Advocacy as they made their case.
“They’re making decisions and they don’t benefit the fish, the tribal members, and the non-tribal members. We’re all losing,” Tim Hamilton, TWFWA president told the reporter.
Last weekend the Fish and Wildlife Commission was briefed on how state laws such as the Open Public Meetings Act apply to boards and to staff-to-staff discussions. The citzen oversight panel directed WDFW staff to continue to look for ways to work with tribal comanangers on how to provide more transparency and the agency remains open to ideas from its constituents as well, according to a spokesman.
The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission declined to go on camera with Morrow, who reposted the organization’s previous response inre tribes being sovereign nations not bound by state meetings laws.
But it appears another test of state laws as they apply to salmon negotiations may be in the offing.