The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will soon be back to full strength with the pending addition of a new member and reappointment of another to fill a recent departure.
Donald McIsaac, a retired longtime director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the citizen panel that sets policy for and oversees the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
And Larry Carpenter, the vice chair, has been reappointed to Miranda Wecker’s seat.
“Their effective dates will be confirmed once we have received the required returned paperwork,” says Tara Lee, a spokeswoman in the Governor’s Office.
Tony Floor of the Northwest Marine Trade Association says he’s known McIsaac for over three decades, and worked with him promoting Willapa Bay in the 1980s. He termed McIsaac “an outstanding selection” and a “fair, open-minded guy.”
“He’ll instantly become a very important, experienced and knowledgeable biological voice” on the commission, Floor said.
PFMC, or the Pacific Council, manages fisheries off the West Coast, including salmon, and includes representatives from all three states.
When McIsaac retired after 15 years as its director, he was called “a very positive leader” by an Oregon board member, according to a 2015 article by the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.
“Through his tenure, he has brought together staff that is very strong and supports the Council well. He’s been tireless in his dedication to the Council and Council process and making sure we have the resources to do good Council policy,” Dorothy Lowman told the Seattle-based organization.
Prior to that, McIsaac worked for the Washington Department of Fisheries and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as a field biologist.
These days he runs DMA Consulting, which advises clients on fishery conservation and management issues.
As for Carpenter’s reappointment, Frank Urabeck, a longtime sportfishing advocate, said he was among those who was pleased with it.
“That act alone gives the recreational fishing community some hope there is still a chance we can correct so much of what has gone wrong in recent years that resulted in significant erosion of sport fishing opportunity,” he said this morning.
Chief among Urabeck’s beefs is the loss of the Skokomish River salmon fishery, fueled by the state Chinook and coho hatchery.
Urabeck termed Carpenter, the former owner of Master Marine in Mount Vernon, as “the most accessible member of the commission” — Carpenter has been a frequent guest on 710 ESPN Seattle’s The Outdoor Line.
He said Carpenter is able to “work with all the players” and is the “most respected, most knowledgeable about fish management issues, and has the experience and capability to provide the leadership desperately needed right now.”
Technically, McIsaac is taking over Carpenter’s Western Washington position, and Carpenter is taking over Wecker’s Western Washington position.
Wecker announced her resignation late last month, and last weekend’s meeting was her last on the commission.
She had been on the board for 12 years, including a long stint as its chair, and her time was marked by thoughtful balancing of harvest and conservation.
“Nothing but gold stars for her,” praised Floor.
Her term was set to run through 2018; Carpenter will serve it out, and then, importantly, would need to be reappointed to remain on the commission.