Thursday, October 29, 2009

To: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

As fishing license holders in the State of Washington, we are willing to do our part in the recovery of wild steelhead in Puget Sound. However taken alone, reductions in fishing opportunity will not recover wild steelhead. In light of recent advances in scientific understanding of the effects of hatcheries on wild populations, we believe that in any watershed where populations cannot support catch and release fishing they certainly cannot be expected to recover while large scale hatchery programs continue. We therefore believe that in watersheds where wild populations have been deemed too fragile for catch and release sport fishing the state MUST substantially reduce or eliminate hatchery supplementation to comply with federal mandates for recovery in threatened Puget Sound Steelhead.

Please take the time to read the above message and sign the petition to limit hatchery involvement in the rivers of Puget Sound and even limit the amounts of catch and release fishing in rivers with low escapement. We are at a crossroad in the management of our native fisheries and all can be lost if we do not take action now. We must fight to maintain what we have so that we can someday rebuild what we have lost. The sacrifices we make today in our obsession or hobby will benefit our future and I am willing to give it up for the hope of how it may help our native fish in the decades to come.

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