SMP again…now onto the BOCC

A relatively large crowd (100?)  packed the Jefferson County Courthouse to testify to the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) on the Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program.  A quick tally seemed to show that tonight, as opposed to the last meeting for the Planning Commission, (PC), that the opponents were in greater numbers than the proponents. When I say opponents, that is a lose term, meaning that some folks outright oppose the entire new update, some oppose the way the update was created, some opposed the the science, some opposed specific issues within it (such as it’s handling  or lack of handling) of the shellfish industry, mining, or other issues. I suppose that almost anyone could end up being somewhat opposed to the SMP update given that criteria, because in our ever polarized world, it’s very hard to add any regulations without significantly getting someone upset.

Now the Planning Commission gets it, along with what was claimed by one supposed lawyer, to be an illegal draft from the Department of Community Development staff, opposing some of the content of the Planning Commission draft (even DCD is in opposition!). Having been on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee back in the dawn of time when the SMP update was crafted, and not being a lawyer, I can say that it is (and was) very difficult to understand legally exactly what needed to be crafted, other than in very general terms. That was supposed to be the job of the consultants, based on their experience, and I’m ok with that, but some folks weren’t.

I agree that the SMP is too hard to comprehend for an average citizen, but then, what legal document isn’t? They need to continue to summarize the points, especially the ones for homeowners, since they are the least likely to read it all. Making it shorter isn’t an option, as it has to cover the legal framework for a wide assortment of uses.

So what is the actual legal requirements from here on in? What can be changed? What can’t?  And what then? We’ll continue to cover this for you, even though I need a stiff drink after coming back from listening to the lies, damn lies, and statistics, presented by folks who should know better. The Fox News crowd is really up and at em, making it seem like a Commie Plot, or at least a Socialist one. Hmmm. I’ve been to socialist leaning countries, like Norway, Sweden, England, France, Italy etc…and they certainly seemed like a happy lot! Even had ‘free’ health care thrown into their communities for their tax dollars (or I guess it’s Euro’s or Kroners).

It’s sort of funny to hear people who prior to this update opposed even 50′ buffers around shorelines, arguing now in favor of them, when newer science calls for larger buffers to protect the habitat.

Additionally, much to my surprise, my previous testimony showing a photo from the early part of the 1900’s with a supposedly 100 lb. King caught off Swiftsure Banks was called an outright lie, by one angry ‘anti’ person. Luckily I had a few minutes to refute my photo, when I ended my testimony early. My answer to the question of “is it real?” is that a quick search of the Internet (thankfully I had my iPhone with me!), seems to show that record keeping of largest individual non-sport fish appears to only go back to 1960 (salmon derbies started around 1930, so some sport fish records were kept back then). Before that the state apparently only kept records of the entire harvest.

Some background to that harvest is worth considering when wondering about whether a 100lb Chinook could have been caught here.  According to some historical data refered to in the Independent: and an article on the history of the fishery by Robert Higgs…

Then, in the mid-1890s, it (the Puget Sound cannery business) began to grow explosively: from 90,000 cases in 1893, the pack increased to 180,000 cases in 1895 to 494,000 cases in 1897, and to 1,381,000 cases in 1901 (Cobb, 1930, p. 557).Cobb, John N. (1930). Pacific Salmon Fisheries. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Fisheries, Doc, No, 1092.

Puget Sound canneries experienced their golden age between the turn of the century and 1919, the peak year being 1913, when 2,583,000 cases were packed.

Since I’ve been told that the mid teens  harvests were the largest on record, according to State D.F.W, and that upwards of a million fish were processed in one day on a Lopez Island cannery, many having to be wasted because of the inability to process that many (according to a local paper, which is hard to corroborate and probably exaggerated; I seem to find that about 170k sockeye were taken by canneries in San Juans  in 1917 and a reference to a million fish processed in the entire year of 1901 in Richardson).

The Washington State sport record is 70.50 lbs, caught by Chet Gausta, at Sekiu, September 6, 1964 (the records, once again, apparently only going back to 1960, besides unavailable records from salmon derbies I can’t seem to find), and that the largest recorded sports salmon taken on rod and reel was off the Kenai Penninsula in May of 1985, weighing in at 97 lbs(!!), I can only assume that, prior to our plunder of the fish, and pillage of the land, there very likely was a very real photo that I had of a 100lb (or thereabout) fish off Swiftsure Banks.  I welcome anyone to prove me wrong, and I’ll gladly print it here!  The comment missed my point though, in that the work we all are doing to protect the salmon stocks by protecting the habitat, is to try and restore historically great runs of big fish. Most people, like this shouting guy, just refuse to believe that we even actually had such a fishery that produced massive fish. My friend Jerry Gorsline points to this ever moving baseline as one that the regulators themselves sometimes manipulate.

Most of those old time fishermen seemed to be  hard working folks who could care less about whether a fish was the largest one or not, and the guy who I have a photo of probably just thought it was bigger than the rest, weighed it, and had a friend take a photo of it. The captain of the boat probably was mad he stopped to get the photo taken. He looked like he was ready to go back to work and then have a stiff drink in Ballard after he got back!

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