WCMAC Commercial Fishing Seat
Dale is the President of the Coalition of Coastal Fisheries and of the Columbia River Crab Fishermen’s Association. He is an active member of the Pacific County Marine Resources Committee, sits on the Advisory Committee for the Pacific County Shoreline Management Program, and is an advisory member to the WDFW Crab Advisory Group. Fishing was Dale’s livelihood for over forty-five years until he retired in 2010. He also was the Ilwaco Fire Department captain for thirty-six years. Now his passion is traveling with his family and representing his community’s local values. He does this by accepting positions like a Tristate Washington Representative, a member of the Water Protection Network and a member of the Lower Columbia Solutions Group Technical Committee. Dale is an experienced commercial fisherman and one of the two fishing representatives on the WCMAC.
What does Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) mean to you?
MSP is a fight for freedom. What I mean by that is, Southwest Washington is the fourth most fish dependent community in the nation. My hope is that the Washington MSP allows the sustainable fishing communities and future generations of Washington fishermen to thrive. Commercial fishing should be independent businesses with good family wage jobs (rather than a corporate workforce). True freedom is working and recreating on the ocean, as I have been able to do, and I fight for future generations to have that freedom.
How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
Washington Marine Spatial Planning is a direct response to keep from permitting new uses along the Washington coast which may interfere with fishing activities. My involvement began in 2008 when a private applicant attempted to use taxpayer money to install an ocean energy facility off of Grays Harbor. If permitted, the proposal would have displaced all commercial fishing between Grays Harbor and the Columbia River.
In 2010, the Coalition of Coastal Fisheries approached the Washington State Legislature in order to protect and preserve the coastal fisheries from proposals like that one. We were concerned about ocean energy applications which could restrict public access and fishing activities in marine waters. The legislature responded by passing Senate Bill 5603 to create an advisory board which recommends guidelines to protect and preserve fishing and all sustainable coastal uses. I am President of the Coalition and strongly believe in protecting existing marine uses. I am now a member of the WCMAC so I can be part of something that protects and preserves public trust freedoms of fishing, navigation, recreation, commerce, aesthetics, conservation, and public access.
What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
I believe the WCMAC can make sure the Washington Marine Spatial Plan includes vital information for protecting and preserving Washington coastal and marine waters. This includes understanding the footprint and impacts of new use before a permit is issued.
I define success as restricting new uses that conflict with existing uses in our marine waters, keeping coastal fishing jobs economically healthy or even thriving, and sustaining the well-being of fishing communities. I fear the pain of losing our precious coastal freedoms, and will remain passionately involved until our freedoms are secure.