Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pend Oreille Pike Issues Addressed

    The 2nd of two "Town Hall" meeting was held last night at Newport Washington. Washington Department of Fish an Wildlife and their partners of the Kalispell Tribe sponsored an open forum for fisherman and businessmen of the Pend Oreille River valley. After months of sometimes contentious rhetoric the parties met for the second time in three weeks to try once again to find common grounds on the future of the Northern Pike. I could not attend but after speaking with several of those in attendance here is a quick run down.
    The first public meeting at Newport last night went very well, we believe.  There were about 45 fisherman present, 4 members of the Mountain Muskies fishing club, and about 10 biologists from WDFW and Kalispell Tribe.  Of the 45 fisherman, none had been in attendance at the first meeting in Spokane Wa.  WDFW biologists presented the same power point presentation that was given in Spokane , then they took questions.  It was well organized and regulated fairly, giving all a chance to present questions. Then the meeting went to formal comments. The biologists wrote down and reviewed the comments to make sure it accurately said what the fishermen intended. 
The passion local fishermen have for the northern pike and the importance of it to the local economy were strong points that were received and understood.  The comment portion of the program seemed genuinely directed towards getting our input and no rebuttal or discussion from the other biologists was permitted at that time. All the questions and concerns we’ve heard and covered in many forums over the past months were brought up. There were some new ideas that were enlightening too, for instance “if you want the pike population controlled by anglers as well, why not let us fish in the tribal sloughs that have been closed to non-natives.
Montana has an example of something that could work here on the Pend Oreille River. The Noxon reservoir, which is a mirror image of the Box Canyon Reservoir, for 20+ years has enjoyed a balanced, thriving multi-fish resource. The pike being caught are averaging over 10 lbs” and all the while they are still enjoying a fine trout fishery. The best comment of the evening came from the biologists “our preferred method of population control would be for the fishermen to do it, it costs us nothing and you buy a license from us to do it.” In a perfect world, were all the talk to come true, I would call it a success for everyone. Of course that’s idealism, but at least the right things were being said as opposed to the language that got this all started.
The wild card will be the Kalispell Tribe. Will they or are they able to abide by any final “agreements” arrived at by the fishing community? Will the front men of any operation “WDFW biologists” maintain a reasonably good fish population level using fisherman harvest and supplemental means? If nothing else the door is open to a working relationship. A door which seemed tightly shut just a few short months ago.
I would like to express my thanks to all those whom attended from WDFW and the Kalispell Tribe. It meant a lot to the public, their voices were heard. >:"":>        >:"":>

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by tell us what you think of our site.