Well…The legislature finally adjourn this past week. A quick glance at the early action 2012 Supplemental Budget that was passed on Wednesday, shows the legislature has at least initially rejected the Governor’s proposal to shift of $1.5 in Wildlife Account revenue to backfill several fish hatcheries that primarily benefit commercial fisherman. That is good news for anglers and represents a nice win for the recreational fishing lobby in Olympia!
This is most likely only a temporary win, as the legislature will be back in January to try and find another $1 billion to balance the budget. At that time, I suspect everything will be back on the table. My sources are telling me that legislators are getting hammered by angry fishers and hunters that don’t want their dollars used to subsidize the commercial fishing industry. The Northwest Steelheaders Association also recently submitted a letter to the Governor and the legislature formally opposing this raid on the Wildlife Account. They are a welcome addition to the fight!! If you have not contacted your legislator, you need to do so when they reconvene on January 9th.
I had someone ask me the other day, why is protecting the Wildlife Account such a big deal for us? You need to remember that these are dollars generated by the sale of fishing and hunting licenses. These are not General Fund dollars. Revenues that feed into the Wildlife Account are supposed to be used to benefit the anglers and hunters. The Governor’s proposal crosses the line and uses those dollars to benefit a group that is not paying into this account. If we don’t say NO, they will continue raiding this fund!
Our efforts are paying off in Olympia. Groups like CCA, PSA and the Northwest Sports Fishing Industry Assn., are kicking it into high gear for 2012… Expect to see significant activity during the next legislative session from these folks on “Derelict Gear” removal, Discover Pass “Transferability”, improving recreational fishing, protecting the Wildlife Account and shutting down some of these gillnet fisheries!
Make 2012 the year you get involved in protecting and preserving our marine resources and improving our recreational fisheries….CONTRIBUTE to WACPAC TODAY!