BEHIND DOORS OR IN PUBLIC

BEHIND DOORS OR IN PUBLIC

This issue is a very interesting. For many the thought that Director Anderson gives a preference to Commercial fishers is rather dominate. From the Commercial side I bet that view is not shared, to say the least.

For my part I will take you back to the final North of Falcon at Olympia a couple years back. Region 6 District 17 utilized nearly 3 1/2 hours putting forth just what was possible and what was simply unattainable. Then Director Anderson came down from his office and set in a bit until we broke for lunch.

Coming back into the meeting following lunch we were witness to staff pounding away on the lap top keyboard utilized to display the model and options on the wall. What happened next was a bit mind boggling as now what was not possible was possible and what was possible ( for the Recs ) was now not! This prompted one attendee to state in a rather load voice "it isn't safe to go to lunch around here!"

So did Director Anderson use his position to influence the outcome for the Commercial and Recs in Grays Harbor? Depends on your view as the Recs yup but no from the Commercials I imagine. It is the Directors role to guide WDF&W through processes but out of the public forum underway? Behind closed doors? Nah ain't buying that BS. Mr. Anderson is a knowledgeable man and if he has views he should state them openly, in a forthright manner to the ENTIRE group of folks in attendance. The failure of WDF&W to grasp that the lack of openness and transparency continues to erode the public's faith in WDF&W as a government institution. Frankly lack of openness and transparency helps drive WDF&W's lack of ability address the many challenges facing the users and resource itself.

Offhand these guys need to do a serious reboot if they have any desire regain the public's trust. The real question is do they give a damn?
The letter below is a response from Commission Chair Wecker who does appear to care and attempted to address the Advocacy's concerns about the Directors influence.

July 18, 2014
Twin Harbors Fish and Wildlife Advocacy
Dear Sirs:
I am writing in response to your letter dated May 17, 2014. The gist of what you request is contained in this paragraph from your letter:

"This all leads us to the point where we ask for the support of the Commission. Again, not to adopt or oppose any particular season and, certainly not to micro‐manage. Rather, we simply ask that the members of the Commission use individual or combined influence to insure the public that the professional staff within Fish Program have the freedom to make the final decisions for a 2014 commercial season based on their combined professional judgment using the education and expertise they hold and to do so without fear of damage to their careers."

The Commission views its role in holding the Department accountable as one of its more important jobs. I have no evidence that Department staff have been unable to use their professional judgment due to "threat of damage to their careers." That said, I do understand that season setting in Willapa Bay has become increasingly contentious and likely will become more so. It is vital that the public have confidence that the Department is adhering to high standards of professionalism especially with respect to our conservation mandate.

This year, some changes have been proposed in setting the Willapa salmon fishing seasons. The Commission will not be able to thoroughly review Willapa fisheries management options until we begin our official consideration of the development of a policy for Willapa salmon management -- a process we expect to begin in October.

However, in the next couple weeks, I will have a conversation with the Director regarding the mechanisms that are in place to assure that staff can offer their best professional judgment in the decision-making process that leads to the setting of seasons in Willapa Bay.

Thank you again for your comments,

Miranda Wecker, Chair
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission



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