Well faithful readers we made it through another year. For me it was a year of enlightenment, accomplishment and of course failure.
How was I enlightened you might ask? I would have to say that the biggest thing I learned was how politicized our fisheries have become. It seems like it is no longer a matter of doing what is the right thing for our resource but what is the most politically expedient. Often it's the path of least resistance that causes the decisions that are made to be made.
I would expect we will hear more politicians saying all the catch phrases that will capture the attention of the large sports fishing communities attention in order to garner their vote.
I've accomplished making a least some people more aware of the tasks before us in the coming year. We that care about wild fish know that this year could make or break the future of wild fish. We are not conceited enough to think we have so much clout as to pull it off ourselves either. Remember I've said before it should never be about individuals or personalities but the greater good of the fish.
Someone recently offered me help on a vital wild fish issue that is near and dear to me if I would go along with a plan to increase the daily take of hatchery steelhead. What is wrong with that scenario? Basically they offered to trade wild fish for more hatchery fish. So what happened to doing what is right instead of trying to do the old "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" thing. Although I should be flattered by someone thinking I have that much influence I thought about it and it was just the wrong way of accomplishing things in my opinion.
I am just one person who cares for wild salmon, trout and steelhead and that's all. I look back on 2007 and realize that I have failed by not doing enough to protect and enhance the wild fish I claim to love so much.
Was there a letter I could have written to a fishery official that may have made a difference? Maybe! Was there a bit of garbage that I could have packed out of some area I was fishing? Without a doubt. Could I have spoken up about something that would have helped? Yes I could have. One thing for sure is that there is no time for a learning curve in the wild fish conservation movement. The time to act is now!
Wild fish are in peril and we cannot waste any time in doing what we can to help. Hopefully some of you will make that your 2008 New Year resoltuion.