I had a chance to go to the WDFW Director's roundtable in Aberdeen last night. It was a great opportunity to learn about the budget issues effecting the department and talk directly to Phil Anderson, the Director of WDFW. Along with the director, there were numerous staff members there to respond to questions. The director discussed the budget and seemed eager to hear from the public about any ideas to save money and fishing and hunting problems. It was a full house with a great question and answer period with Phil Anderson.
While it was a full house there is a certain segment of the fishing community completely absent from these meetings. There were very few young people present. I am 38 years old and felt like a young kid at this forum. During the numerous questions, there were only two other questions besides mine that specifically dealt with protecting wild fish. Where are the wild fish advocates? Where are all the passionate anglers that post enthusiastically on internet fishing boards about catch and release and protecting wild steelhead?
Yes, the meeting wasn't in a large Puget Sound city, but Aberdeen is one hour from Olympia. It's not that far to speak to the head of the agency and meet and learn from area biologists and fish program managers.
When you wonder why WDFW continues to use old ideas in their management, look to who goes to these meetings and speaks to the decision makers.