FEATURED ACTION: Take OP Wild Steelhead Off The Menu    Take Action Now >

WSC NEWS

  • Your source for steelhead news and resources
  • Click "The Adipose" below to read our most recent newsletters
  • For instant updates, become a WSC fan on Facebook!
Photo by Luke Kelly

Risky Senate Bill 5551 seeks “revenge” against wild fish advocates

Category: WSC Updates | Posted by: Jonathan | 2/3/15 | Comments: 6

Summary: A Senate bill proposed during the current legislative session could have serious repercussions for advocates of wild salmon and steelhead in Washington state, and for the wild fish they’re working to recover. Senate Bill 5551 Summary: Deny wild fish organizations state Salmon Recovery Funding Board contributions if they have brought legal action against the state concerning hatchery production within ten calendar years.
Share

A Senate bill proposed during the current legislative session could have serious repercussions for advocates of wild salmon and steelhead in Washington state, and for the wild fish they’re working to recover.

Senate Bill 5551 Summary: Deny wild fish organizations state Salmon Recovery Funding Board contributions if they have brought legal action against the state concerning hatchery production within ten calendar years.

Elwha Hatchery

Full statement below. 

Sponsors:

Sen. Kirk Pearson (R-Monroe-39th)

Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-Raymond-19th)

Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-Edmonds-32nd)

Find your legislator here and let them know you oppose SB 5551!

Next action: SB 5551 will be heard on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Parks, Senate Hearing Room 1, J.A. Cherberg Building, Olympia, WAThose wishing to provide testimony against SB 5551 at Thursday’s committee hearing will need to sign-in electronically prior to the hearing, or using the sign-in form at the hearing room entrance. Those attending but not providing testimony should sign-in and note they are attending in opposition to SB 5551.Those unable to attend but wish to provide comment on this misguided bill can do so online here.Those wishing to contact other committee members directly can email them at the email links belowSen. Kirk Pearson, Sen. Brian Dansel, Sen. Brian Hatfield, Sen. Maralyn Chase, Sen. Mike Hewitt, Sen.Rosemary McAuliffe, Sen. Judy Warnick.

Talking points:
  • State Salmon Recovery Board funding was created to support the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead stocks. There is clear scientific evidence that excessive hatcheries can harm and impede wild fish recovery. If passed, SB 5551 would severely undermine the very purpose of the Salmon Recovery Board funding.
  • State Salmon Recovery Board funding is intended to be awarded on the merits of the projects and the ability of the applicants to fulfill the proposed actions which are completely unrelated to whether the individuals or entities have or have not exercised the right to seek court relief for state activity they believe is negatively impacting wild salmon and steelhead.
  • Individuals and NGO’s have sought redress in the courts for decades to insure compliance with state and federal legislation. This is a well-established component of our American democracy, and an effective tool for the conservation of our shared natural heritage. To jeopardize this effort with the threat of funding ineligibility sets a dangerous precedent for our state.
  • It’s clear SB 5551 is “revenge politics” that puts the recovery of our wild salmon and steelhead at risk. These are icons of our region, vitally important for Washingtonians, Native American tribes and our wild ecosystems. Their recovery is too important to be undermined by petty politics.
  • Recovering wild salmon and steelhead in the Northwest will take all of us working together to address all the issues that prevent these iconic fish from returning in healthy numbers. SB 5551 seeks to unfairly penalize those who’ve used their legal rights to seek compliance from public entities when it comes to protections for ESA listed fish species.

More on SB 5551:

SB 5551, introduced by Senator Kirk Pearson (R-Monroe), would deny state Salmon Recovery Funding Board contributions for any project or activity if the project sponsor has brought any legal action against the state before a court or administrative tribunal relating to fish hatchery facility operations within ten calendar years.

Sound science has repeatedly demonstrated that excessive hatchery production can have serious negative impacts on the recovery wild salmon and steelhead. Many advocacy organizations in the Northwest are working to recover populations of these iconic wild fish; through habitat restoration, harvest improvements, and hatchery reform.

Individuals and Non-governmental organizations have long sought redress in the courts to insure compliance with state and federal legislation. This is a well-established component of our American democracy, and an effective tool for the conservation of our shared natural heritage. These advocates argue SB 5551 deliberately jeopardizes this legal right with the threat of funding ineligibility, setting a dangerous precedent for our state.

Many of the same organizations who have challenged misguided or excessive hatchery programs in court also apply for and receive state Salmon Recovery Funding Board contributions for habitat restoration or in-stream connectivity work. Funding that would be preemptively denied if the sponsors of SB 5551 are successful.

The Washington state Salmon Recovery Funding Board provides “funding for elements necessary to achieve overall salmon recovery, including habitat projects and other activities that result in sustainable and measurable benefits for salmon and other fish species.”

This funding was created specially to support the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead stocks. There is clear scientific evidence that excessive hatcheries can harm and impede wild fish recovery. Wild fish advocates argue that if passed, SB 5551 would severely undermine the very purpose of the Salmon Recovery Board funding.

Representatives from the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office and other state agencies tasked with salmon recovery have repeatedly said over the years that for “overall salmon recovery” to be successful, it will take a diverse group of citizens, agencies and organizations working together.

Unfortunately, it seems a small group of legislators is not interested in working together to tackle all the problems facing these iconic fish, including hatcheries. They would rather ignore science and play revenge politics against organizations whose views on fish hatcheries they disagree with, seeking to deny state funding for projects that benefit wild salmon and steelhead recovery, and the many people who want to see them make a comeback in our region.

Similar Posts

6 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    I wanted to see if you have any links, or documents on the Sound science has repeatedly demonstrated that excessive hatchery production can have serious negative impacts on the recovery wild salmon and steelhead.

    Thanks

  2. Wyatt Wood says:

    It can not be Constitutional to punish people for exercising their right to sue for redress. What a bunch of ignorant creeps.

  3. Kevin Campbell says:

    This bill has little support in the Ledgislature. We’re it to pass in would be vulnerable to litigation itself. Keep moving forward on your larger agenda, including more litigation. This is a problem to be solved in the the third branch of government. The other two don’t have the will to make the changes that might protect the remaining 10% of wild fish.
    A lobbiest might be helpful when you do come down to speak on your issues. Truth be told the more success you have in the court the more push back you will engender from legislators who’s constituents are in the industries being sustained through hatcheries. kerping winning on the basis of law and science, move faster, your hanging fire in the meantime.

  4. John Doe says:

    Looks like someone is going to get a pay cut in their bank accounts…

    I love this Bill SB5551. Those of you who sue the state, while also getting paid from the state are ridiculous. I hope this bill passes and you guys go out of business and take your non profit somewhere else.

  5. Jason Denton says:

    I hope it passes! I’m tired of you environmental terrorists shutting down sport fishing opportunity and resent my and other sportfishers tax dollars helping you to do so. You don’t deserve a penny. You’re idea of working together is a hyprocritcal joke. Did the WFC work with sportfishers and tribes when their lawsuit shut down PS hatchery plants? I don’t think so, you all are getting the push back you’ve worked hard to deserve. I’ve written my senator in support of this bill and have encouraged others to do the same.

  6. Jason Denton says:

    And I do support wild steelhead, just think the hatchery scapegoat for their demise is ludicrous and the WFC heavy handed tactics need to come to a screeching halt before sportfishing is decimated in this state.

Leave a Reply