Kitsap Sun: Cooperation at Salmon Harvest Talks

Chris Dunagan of the Sun had a great story on a later afternoon meeting between tribal and state fishermen during the North of Falcon process:

Tribal and nontribal fishermen may have their differences in background and culture, but they share a passion for telling fish stories.

“We all, as fishermen, get that bug in the springtime,” said Ray Fryberg, fisheries manager for the Tulalip Tribe in Northern Puget Sound. “When you get that seaweed smell from the beach, you know its time to clean up the boat and get ready to go.”

Late Tuesday afternoon, more than 50 people involved in negotiating this year’s salmon seasons in Washington state took a two-hour break from the technical discussions. For the first time in about 15 years, they sat together around a table and spoke of their love for salmon.

Curt Kramer, a retired state biologist and self-professed troublemaker, said he recalls fishing trips with his grandfather, and now he’s teaching his grandchildren to fish.

“I want to remind people in this group that we are not enemies; we are allies, natural allies,” Kramer said. “We have a passion for fish. I have seen this process work. When we stand shoulder to shoulder, we almost always win the day.”

The process he mentioned is known as North of Falcon, because it involves setting salmon harvests among all fishers — tribal and nontribal, sport and commercial — in an area from Cape Falcon in Oregon to the Canadian border. State and tribal managers may bicker at times, but they know that a serious disagreement will lead to a painful legal battle.

The entire piece is well worth the read (find it here).

This is the second time in recent months that leaders from the treaty tribes in Western Washington sat down with their counterparts in the natural resources world. Back in November, the commissioners of the NWIFC and the WDFW met for the first time in years..