Rumor Control: Umm, PS Steelies Already Listed

An email that’s circulated past a number of WDFW bios and honchoes today accuses Director Phil Anderson of “floating an idea to try to get (Puget Sound) steelhead listed under the ESA.”

“By listing the steelhead under ESA they will no longer have to manage the species, but it will also make it unfishable. WDFW will also be able to close all steelhead hatcheries gaining a savings that way,” it reads.

“The economic impact will be devastating.  This will drive most fishing guides out of business as half their season will be gone.

“This story has enough credence,” adds the email, “that Northwest Sportsmen magazine is running a story on it.  The piece is excellent.”

While we appreciate accolades, we don’t want them in this case.

There are serious errors with the email, and since we’re mentioned in it, we’d like to set them straight.

For starters, Puget Sound steelhead are of course already listed as threatened under ESA. Have been since May 2007.

05-07-2007 Puget Sound Steelhead ESA Listing (PDF 44KB)

The listing that day prompted me to write possibly the longest story of my Fishing & Hunting News career, thousands upon thousands of words of reaction, where the listing came from, what it might mean, etc., etc., etc.

If anything, in the three and a half years since, the listing has actually led to more management — not less — but it has not led to a wholesale closure of steelhead hatcheries. I’ve been covering those and other aspects of the current state of the fishery here and in the magazine as well.

While the email says Dave Workman is the mag editor, it’s actually me, AW, and I suspect the missive stems from my recent article on the possible elimination of steelheading in Puget Sound, and why it was brought up as WDFW struggles with the budget.

Unfortunately, it appears that those words have been misconstrued, and now the mag looks kind of stupid.

Frankly, I do a good enough job of that on my own. I don’t need any extra help, thank you.

The email, sent by a member of a regional hunting and conservation group, prompted calls to me from Rep. Brian Blake, a member of said group, as well as from Anderson himself to find out if “some things need to be cleared up.”

No, Mr. Director, I think we’re good on this one.

(BTW, sir, just don’t even worry about that whole photo afield thing, I think I’m happy with what Craig sent over.)


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