Letters from Nov. 28, 2007

Brownsville culvert

Keep the nets out

Early in November following the dedication ceremony celebrating completion of two fish-friendly culverts on the Brownsville Highway, tribal fishermen strung a gill net from the day marker outside the marina for the first time in the 30 years I have lived here. Given recent news articles about collateral deaths of sea mammals around other nets, I called 911 after watching a seal thrashing in the water close to the net while gulls swarmed above him. The net, which was across one of the well traveled courses into the marina, was there at last light and gone before morning.

Immediate responses from state fisheries people, explained that the seal probably had grabbed a fish from the net. His feasting had drawn the birds.

After having sat through many hearings listening to tribal representatives go on about the Boldt decision and how important salmon are to their culture, I found it hypocritical that before the first run was able to swim up through culverts that cost us $1.6 million, they were putting nets out.

What surprised me was that more than two weeks after I called the Indian Fisheries on that first weekend in November, their representative belatedly responded to basically tell me that Indians can fish where and when they want to. After I pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to lay out nets to snag the first fish able to swim up through those culverts, he told me that it would be a waste of fish to let too many swim up and attempt to spawn in “degraded habitat.” Will we ever know how “degraded” it is, if we don’t let the fish swim up there to spawn?

If this is indeed the operative attitude and policy of the tribes, then I suggest that before we spend more scarce highway dollars to open more streams above blocking culverts, that commitments be made by Indian Fisheries not to set nets on those streams during runs immediately following the opening to encourage full use and development of available spawning grounds.




Vandalism a sign of the times

The vandalism of the Sylvan Way Kitsap Regional Library (CK Reporter, “KRL has its own fish tale to tell,” Nov. 24) is a sad sign of the times in which we live — as a community and a culture. Granted the perpetration wasn’t fatal to anyone, except perhaps the fish, it still strikes a chord of maddening frustration in this citizen. I was further exacerbated to read about the incident in 2006 where someone broke windows at the same library. The community, including myself, enjoys the privilege of a public library — and I hold a great deal of contempt for anyone who would harm that service.

It is a service provided by our local government so that we might enjoy “books” — an increasingly unappreciated resource. The library is a place where people are given access to tools for research and learning, as well as entertainment. It is a public place where we can find a bit of peace and enjoy a wealth of information and art.

Unfortunately, the vandals who committed the crime probably don’t read newspapers. Nor do I imagine that they would understand the tragic implications of their thrill seeking. The blatant disrespect for something as sweet and simple as a public library weighs on me. Furthermore, I think the vicious act itself speaks of a growing apathy and discord in our culture.

I implore these vandals to find a more productive hobby. Maybe pick up a book?