October 19, 2009

Notes on Government

I've been doing some reading about how we manage fisheries in WA state. As we all know, there are some serious problems with the state budget and re-organizing the WDFW, our natural resource departments (including watersheds and forest management) is something they want to do - mostly to conserve money due to the $9BB shortfall in our budget. The government has asked for citizen ideas about how to re-organize the departments, mostly to save money.

I just had to respond to them, and if there was any reader out there interested, I would post that letter I wrote. But basically, my response was about the classic triple constraint that any project manager worth their salt would advise them about. Either a) they reduce the scope of their responsibilities, b) change the structure soon so they can stop the cost bleeding, c) cost sounds like the most important thing and they want to reduce it.

But if they want to rebuild the fishery, and do it quickly, then they should probably just issue some draconian conservationist policies, and begin managing the state fish policy as a whole and not fracture it up by species, by section of river or stream, by commercial, by tribal, by catch method. They should just institute simple rules that you either can fish for that type of fish, or you can't, and you can't use certain types of gear (like gill-nets) to prevent overfishing. Then you could go with a pure enforcement style fishery and rely on private institutions and universities to do the data collection on rivers / fish counts.

Anoter note of interest is that it turns out that I live in the congressional district for the guy who runs the Natural Resources, Ocean & Recreation Committee: Ken Jacobsen.

Ken Jacobsen was the guy who accused the WDFW to be too biased towards recreational fishermen (a laugh if I've heard one) - and that the WDFW has been too harsh on bringing commercial interests to the table. I have not yet heard back from Mr. Jacobsen about my letter, but I have heard from Rep White (who is deferring his answer to Mr Jacobsen). Now I am trying to get together a list of questions for Mr Jacobsen about how we manage the fishery, and what the process would look like to outlaw the gill net as a fishing technique

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