The article “Wanted: Commercial Fishermen” describes a serious regional economic decline. The Columbia/Willapa/Grays Harbor gillnet fisheries dove-tailed with local winter crabbing, summer Alaska gillnet fisheries, and other fisheries that supported our communities’ economic viability. They provided an entry into numerous job opportunities, and income streams from multiple sources.
The drive to push gillnet fisheries off the mainstem in favor of recreational fishing depended on expansion off-channel fishing areas, which has not occurred. Promised opportunities for alternative gears, e.g. tangle nets, seines, traps, have not materialized either. Neither Oregon nor Washington have provided even general numbers of salmonids available for harvest, while expecting fishing families to invest $100,000 or more in alternative gears that are still in the experimental state, and not yet legal.
The agencies’ fisheries policies have resulted in eliminating young entrants into commercial fishing. The 19th District is now Washington’s worst regarding negative social statistics, according to a 2016 study. The young of our fishing families are leaving. They see no future for them or our communities in a service economy solely based on recreational fishing.
I've been a sportsman in the state of Washington for 59 years. Most of the sportsmen I have talked with would like to know how could the state Department of Fish and Game fail so miserably at running their department? One example is closing the state and federal fish hatcheries. They have ruined wild fish runs, hatcheries' fish run, clip fin, no clip fin, when to fish, when not to fish, only fish, in certain areas, can be taken. Fish, but you can't keep the fish. What's the point of that? Gillnet restrictions, sea lions, seals, hoof rot, deer hair loss, have to pay to hunt on state land, have to pay to hunt private lands. What a joke. Also, sportsmen need an up-to-date guidebook to know when, where, how much, how often, to keep up with all the rules and regulations.
Many of the sportsmen and sportswomen I have talked to say the the same thing: "What a mess!" It's sad but my friends and I have chosen to hunt out of state. Just remember ... when all the sea lions and seals are fed, all the hoof rot, all the fish are gone, then what? One thing's for sure, you will be gone too.
The Republicans are at it again. The Republican House passed a budget that ends Medicare and replaces it with vouchers that are worth only a few hundred dollars a year. The Republican so-called "tax reform" bill also has deep cuts to Medicaid. Republicans say with the money saved from gutting Medicare and Medicaid, they will give the wealthy and wealthy corporations large tax cuts. They say that will make corporations hire more. However, it never has in the past. The tax policy center said the "tax reform" bill cuts won't add jobs, only helps the wealthy and adds massively to the debt. Trump just sabotaged Obamacare by not paying out the subsidies, which is illegal and will make premiums go sky-high. Now Trump will have to be sued to get him to obey the law, at taxpayer expense. And in the meantime, millions will lose health insurance coverage. Also, the Republican Congress hasn't renewed children's health coverage, which expired and runs out of money soon. Call Republican senators soon to kill their budget and pay the legal subsidies and renew children's health coverage, and kill the harmful tax bill.