We have sent a letter to the NWIFC, Chairwoman Lorraine Loomis regarding their objection to the transparency issue in the NOF meetings. In her recent article calling for more cooperation and trust building she says "WE" need to work together to better our fisheries, so we are asking her to end her opposition to having these meetings opened up. Our Petition to open these meetings has gained over 2600 signatures to date.
Here is a copy of the letter we sent:
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC)
ATTN: Chairwoman Lorraine Loomis
6730 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA 98516
Chairwoman Lorraine Loomis,
Your recent article “BEING FRANK: NORTH OF FALCON UNDERWAY EARLIER” kindled some optimism for our citizens in its language of co-operation and willingness to work toward solutions that put our fish first above all else.
We agree that there are many very important issues that are facing our fisheries, not the least of which is environmental; however, it’s also clear the current climate surrounding our relationship is also impacting our fisheries in a detrimental way.
We are not politicians, nor members of any “organized” group, but rather a cross section of two thousand six hundred citizens of this state— all of whom have a deep love and respect for the resources, as you do. As a citizen based coalition, allow us to speak frankly, person to person.
In your article, you state:
“We’ve been working with the state to take a close look at the North of Falcon process and how we can be more efficient.
We can continue to cooperate.
It has taken more than 40 years for the tribes and state to build the working relationship needed to jointly manage the salmon resource. Like all relationships, ours has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day we all want the same thing: healthy, sustainable salmon populations that can support harvest.
Even with an early start it won’t be easy for the co-managers to reach agreement again this year. As salmon continue to decline, every management action we take requires increasingly careful consideration.
One thing that’s certain is that fisheries management is better when we work together.”
As you are aware, there is a major issue within our current North of Falcon process. The issue is lack of transparency in the closed door, North of Falcon meetings between us, the State, and you, the Treaty Tribes.
This issue has created a large rift between the non-tribal citizens of this State and the Treaty Tribes, a rift that fosters suspicion and distrust rather than a spirit of cooperation and respect.
During a recent meeting with the WDFW Commissioners and Director Unsworth, we were told that they support opening these meetings between the WDFW and the NWIFC representatives. They went on to explain that you oppose any type of openness in these meetings.
We’re hopeful your continued public statements for openness and cooperation do not exclude negotiations between the people of this state and your tribal members. What is implied by “working together” does not mean excluding topics that might be uncomfortable.
We are asking you to address the closed door meetings in an honest and forthright way. We urge you to take the hand that we are extending across the table in trust, and let us truly work together to find solutions to save our troubled fisheries. We are open to your ideas on how to allow full disclosure in these meetings and not disrupt the negotiations.
The first step in forming true cooperation is trust. Trust is earned by understanding and cooperation on the part of both sides. The adversarial thinking of “us verses them” must come to an end. “We” have a responsibility to work together. Let us remove the obstacles to cooperation, no matter how uncomfortable, and save our resources for future generations.
Please set aside your hard line stance and open these meetings to the public.
Looking forward to your timely reply.
and 2600+ guardians of the Fisheries Resource
Forgiveness is between them and God. My job is to arrange the meeting!
US Army 1st SGT (Ret)