WDFW to Anglers: Drop Dead
State Vows to Continue Secret Meetings
State fisheries managers have rebuffed efforts to open state-tribal negotiations to the public, instead scheduling a series of public meetings about this year’s salmon fishing seasons.
“These government-to-government meetings must occur for fishing seasons to be set,” Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) director Jim Unsworth said in a written release. “Refusing to meet with the tribes because they will not allow the public to attend these negotiations would be very unproductive for everyone involved.”
Perry Menchaca of Tacoma, who earlier organized an online petition calling for the season-setting meetings with tribal representatives to be opened to the public, rejected the WDFW’s proposed stop-gap measure.
In a statement, Menchaca said, “Director Unsworth knows we are not asking for an open auditorium full of people. We want a live video feed, un-edited with no off camera negotiations. Simple. There is no reason this should interfere with any negotiations, and certainly is a low cost, effective method to allow public oversight!”
Reactions on the WDFW Facebook page were similarly negative with many commenters saying they would not buy a Washington state fishing license this year, and that input from past public meetings organized by the WDFW had gone unheeded by the department.
The WDFW also provided a link to submit online comments about the season-setting negotiations, however, as of noon on Saturday the link was broken.
A full schedule of the WDFW meetings can be found at the department’s website.