Zone puts unfair burden on fishermen
In Marine Area 7, the area in which the proposed no-go zone resides, the recreational chinook fishing season has been cut by 75 percent in the last five years. Prior to 2015, we fished for summer and fall chinook from July 1 through Oct. 31. As of 2019, we are down to July only.
This puts the recreational fishermen way ahead of any yet-to-be-enacted conservation efforts for both chinook salmon and the Southern Resident orcas. However, the no-go zone effectively singles out the recreational fishermen. What folks don’t understand is that millions of dollars of revenue raised by the sale of recreational fishing licenses goes directly to support hatchery production of chinook salmon. These hatcheries put food in the mouths of the orcas.
What’s more, the proposal exempts both the tribal and non-tribal commercial fishing fleets. Why? Because those who filed the lawsuit know full well that to include them would be to kill the effort immediately.
They understand that there is zero chance of getting a law enacted that would prohibit these commercial fishing boats from entering the proposed no-go zone. It gets even more entertaining listening to these folks suggest that those who oppose the no-go zone are putting profit ahead of the survival of the whales. All the while these people are attempting to have a law put in place which includes an exception for those who actually do catch and sell fish for profit (the tribal and non-tribal commercial fishing fleet).
I am not actually opposed to these commercial vessels doing what they do off the west side of San Juan Island. I am, however, pointing out the inconsistency and hypocrisy exhibited by those who proposed the no-go zone.
Free speech protects power of the people
Go ahead: Please take a moment to read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I got slapped in the face with it by a crusty news editor when I was a naive journalism student at the University of Missouri.
He assigned me to cover the KKK march through our campus. I was stunned and appalled that the paper would give coverage to this hate-filled event. He reminded me that Americans have the right to say anything they want as long as the speech is not a call to commit violence. One could argue that the KKK stands for violence, but until a physical act of violence occurs against another, marching does not break the law.
Our Founding Fathers who wrote the First Amendment understood an even greater threat to a civilized society than a group such as the KKK: Tyranny, dictatorial government and even punishment by death for speaking opinions that differ from those of kings, queens and modern-day presidents in positions of power. We the people have power, too. And the First Amendment protects the power of the people.
As a community, we need to hear everyone’s opinions, however, revolting. How else are we to know that hatred is gaining a foothold otherwise – and to engage it directly via education and conversation in order to evolve a civilized, inclusive society? The First Amendment in action is not for cowards.
I applaud Sen. Liz Lovelett’s recent stand against hate speech in our communities. She is asking us to rise above fear, to be our best selves and to have the courage to face hatred wherever it rears its ugly face, to try to understand it, and then to help those filled with hate evolve themselves.
The First Amendment gives all of us that equal right. I thanked my editor, then I covered the story.