WDFW Director Jim Unsworth has responded to the Advocacy’s letter to the Department and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) requesting the two comanagers open the secret meetings used in the North of Falcon (NOF) process to set tribal and non-tribal fishing seasons (see below). The Director states that the meetings are closed by the tribes due to “mischaracterization” of the tribal positions by observers allowed to sit in on meeting in the past. He goes on to state “Unfortunately, this means the general public has not direct access to the negotiations without an invitation from the tribes.“
The Advocacy has issued a response to the Director. The response outlines how the Advocacy will never accept the notion that citizens can only participate in governmental processes by invitation from the tribal comanagers and only then, if the citizens agree to give up their constitutional rights to free speech. In doing so, the Advocacy explains the case law and application of the Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA) and asks the Commission take actions to insure the Department ceases operating outside the state’s transparency laws. The Advocacy response is available here. The Director’s letter is available here.