In response to the petition filed by the Willapa Bay Gillnetters Association (WBGA) challenging the 2015 commercial gillnet season for Willapa Bay, the Advocacy has joined ranks with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and filed a joint motion to intervene on behalf of both organization’s members and supporters. Joe Frawley of the Olympia law firm Schefter & Frawley is representing the Advocacy. Former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge of the Seattle firm of Talmadge, Fitzpatrick and Tribe will represent the CCA.
The jest of the petition by the WBGA is an effort to invalidate the new Willapa Bay Salmon Management Plan passed in 2015 by the Fish & Wildlife Commission that is designed to manage the resource on a conservation first and harvest second basis. The petition further attempts to creatively argue a scenario wherein the Department (i.e. the rest of the citizens and the state treasury) has some legal duty to provide a level of profitability acceptable to the holders of commercial gillnet licenses, regardless of the number of fish available for harvest.
The joint motion to intervene is scheduled for arguments before a judge in Thurston County on March 4, 2016 to determine whether the court will allow the intervention and if so, under what terms or conditions. The motion is available for viewing or downloading here. A link to the petition filed by WBGA is posted below.