JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Despite protests, stubborn Gov. Inslee continues coronavirus fishing ban

Apr 20, 2020, 8:15 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2020, 8:35 am
coronavirus fishing...
Fishing is still allowed under the stay at home order in Wisconsin. In Washington? Not so much. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
(Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Governor Jay Inslee has inexplicably maintained a coronavirus fishing ban in Washington state, despite protests. Not only does it stand in the face of what science actually suggests, it’s a stubborn move that will escalate protests.

Early into the coronavirus stay-at-home order, Inslee’s Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) claimed it was seeing “crowded boat ramps and busy fishing on some rivers, which runs counter to the governor’s direction to stay home and practice social distancing.”

Washington appears to be the only state to ban recreational fishing during the coronavirus crisis. Even Michigan, a state panned by some for draconian measures, allows for fishing.

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Coronavirus fishing ban is senseless

Banning recreational fishing makes little sense. We’re allowed to go for walks in the park and exercise outdoors while maintaining six feet with others. Yet being alone, in a boat, in the middle of a large lake somehow puts us in danger of spreading the coronavirus?

“There’s nobody but us two out in the middle of the river,” Alan Doughty told the Tri-City Herald.

WDFW justifies the ban after seeing a few crowded boat ramps. But that was a month ago. Since then, Washingtonians have better understood and practiced the social distancing guidelines. There’s no reason why in April 2020, Washingtonians can’t safely distance themselves as they hop on their boats to fish.

This past weekend, the Tri Cities saw two coronavirus fishing ban protests where boaters safely fished while staying six feet from another. So what is the purpose of this ban? It shows Inslee to be stubborn.

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A stubborn power play

I believe Inslee wants to save lives. But he also wants to show his power and keeping a coronavirus fishing ban in place shows him to be a stubborn leader who won’t admit he made a mistake. This is foolish.

As Tucker Carlson so effectively showed on FOX News on Monday night, the science actually backs going outdoors, not staying inside — watch below. Inslee says he makes decisions backed by science, so what gives?

This past weekend, thousands protested the stay-at-home order in Olympia. While Inslee condemned them in a Tweet, he could have actually listened to their message. And to help placate some, he could very easily lift the coronavirus fishing ban. Inslee gives in to criminals who riot, but peacefully protesting against a fishing ban gets an angry, condescending tweet?

Give Washingtonians something, anything, that makes sense and is reasonable. Removing the coronavirus fishing ban accomplishes both. It shows you’re listening to concerns and are willing to admit you made a mistake. As other states begin reopening their economies, Washingtonians will start getting antsier for a return to semi-normalcy. Letting a small group of people fish gives them a win and could let them stick with your coronavirus stay-at-home order a bit longer. Listen to them and they’ll likely listen to you a bit longer.

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Rantz: Despite protests, stubborn Gov. Inslee continues coronavirus fishing ban