Bay wolf wrote:We have many small family run commercial fishermen who've signed the petition. Many understand the point that Tim Hamilton makes that the issue is not Commercials vs Recreational's. The issue is over harvest and unaccountability in our fisheries and dirty deals are done, for the most part without the public having any knowledge of them.
Amazing that these couple of Commercial fishermen say the Tribes have a RIGHT to fish and WE are privileged. The resource belongs to ALL citizens of Washington State, and WE have a right and a responsibility to insure the resource is being protected to benefit ALL STAKEHOLDERS! Why do these guys think WE, the CITIZENS of Washington state are subject to the Tribes approval to oversee our resources. Surly, they don't think the Tribes OWN all the fish and allow us to take a few out of the goodness of their hearts?
I get it. Their scared... They fear the tribes power and their ability to shut down our season by simply walking out of the NOF negotiations. But it brings us right back to the issue. THE MEETINGS MUST BE OPEN or we will forever be held hostage to just such fear! Commercials and Rec's need to stay united through the pain of "Chaos". Only then will we see a better future.
Well, it seems those fellas know their history.
Coastal tribes were fishing for salmon commercially long before the white settlers arrived - selling to Hudsons Bay Co and trading to other out of area tribes. Coastal tribes of the NW were the richest in the country before we came along.
Many years later, when the Federal Government pushed to move all tribes onto designated reservations, the coastal tribes reluctantly agreed - PROVIDED - and it was their ONE CAVEAT - that they be allowed to 'KEEP THE FISH and continue to hunt'. The government agreed, and PUT IT IN THE TREATY.
After 120 or so years Post Treaty of being at the short end of the stick, having access cut off, the fish populations depleted by non tribal entities, and having their rights to this resource constantly questioned by the Territorial and subsequent State governments, the issue was moved to Federal Court where the Boldt Decision was handed down in 1974.
WE - the non tribal fishermen, both sport and commercial - were essentially given 50% of the fish in the Boldt Decision - NOT THEM. They ALREADY OWNED the resource per the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854. And just like that - they were 'allowed to keep 50%' - which means half of their resource was taken away - a resource promised to them in writing by the federal govt 120 years prior.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -
When I was was younger, and completely oblivious to the factual history of this issue I used to get upset that half of the fish were going to a relatively small group of people. Now that I am aware of the things that have taken place, the promises made, promises broken and the things taken away - I am embarrassed for myself.
When I see or hear someone who is clearly in the dark about the history whining about 'our share' or 'our rights' being violated on this issue, I am embarrassed for THEM.
Lucky for us, the tribes have over 50 hatcheries in this state up and running that focus on salmon and steelhead. Further, they have invested millions of dollars in these resources and are trying to bring back runs that disappeared decades ago.
I see them as partners in re-establishing the resource, NOT adversaries.
It is what they are.