The Puget Sound Gillnetters Association: Who We Are
by Lanny Pilatos, September 14, 1999
The Puget Sound Gillnetters Association was founded in 1949.
It was formed to give a collective voice to fisherman and to the public resource upon which their livelihoods depend. This association has fought for the right things from its inception. Habitat issues, net bans and everything in between. 50 years of daily struggles to survive.
The battles were often tough. Dams without fish passages in the 40’s. Net-bans, Allocation struggles and habitat destruction’s in every decade. We have tasted sweet Victory and bitter defeat. Perhaps, the darkest years coincided with the Boldt Decision. Most of us wondered how it could happen, but it did. We reached deep down and survived. Knowing as we did it would be one battle after another.
Faces have changed over the years. Some battled for a little while. Some have always been there and are still fighting. Money or more precisely, lack of it has been a Constant Companion. Many times it was said, “YOU ARE DONE!” But the PSGA never gives up. Always, there has been this Association, fighting the good fight. Without it Puget Sound Gillnetters would be a distant memory. Thank God for the PSGA!
20 years, 30 years, 40 years, the PSGA has seen it all: court cases, bad directors, bought public officials, bad press, the list goes on and on. But there was a job to do – Keep the fleet on fishing grounds!
The more things change the more they remain the same. The nineties were more of that – just deeper and stinkier. Birds, the ESA, farmed fish, selectivity, the all time worst Director of WDF&G – Bern Shanks, 640, the new net-ban, … and how 50 years have passed. And we’re still here. Still here because over fifty years some cared enough to fight the good fight and put fisherman and their family’s first.