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From: AP Washington News
OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved a new Grays Harbor salmon-management policy designed to conserve wild salmon runs and clarify catch guidelines for sport and commercial fisheries in the bay.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the new policy Feb. 8 during a public meeting in Tumwater.
Miranda Wecker, commission chair, said the new policy provides clear direction to make conservation of wild salmon the first priority for fishery management in the harbor.
“Most importantly, this policy sends a strong and unmistakable signal about the importance of meeting our conservation objectives, even if that means seriously reining in both sport and commercial fisheries,” Wecker said. “It also represents a fair accommodation for both fisheries when harvestable numbers of fish are present.”
The new policy includes provisions for state-managed fisheries that:
Since last October, WDFW has held eight public meetings in Grays Harbor County to encourage public involvement in the development of the policy. More than 350 written comments were received on the draft policy during that time.
State fishery managers expect to post the final text of the new Grays Harbor Salmon Management Policy on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/grays_harbor_salmon/) by mid-February.
In other business, the commission approved an updated policy for lower Columbia River sturgeon fisheries that includes technical amendments to the version approved in 2011 and extends the policy through 2018.
Updates to the policy do not affect the closure of retention fishing for sturgeon below Bonneville Dam due to conservation concerns. That closure remains in effect until further notice.
The commission also approved a proposal by WDFW to purchase two acres of uplands and tidelands at Lynch Cove in Mason County, where the department plans to provide parking and access to waterfowl hunting on Hood Canal. The project will also provide a migratory pathway for juvenile summer chum and chinook salmon, and preserve habitat for shellfish, shorebirds and waterfowl.
OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting a new policy to guide salmon management in Grays Harbor and an updated policy for sturgeon fisheries on the lower Columbia River at a public meeting scheduled Feb. 7-8 in Tumwater.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet both days starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Comfort Inn Conference Center, 1620 74th Ave. S.W. in Tumwater.
The proposed policy for Grays Harbor includes provisions designed to conserve wild salmon runs, clarify catch allocations, and reduce conflicts between sport and commercial fishers in the bay. A revised version of the original proposal is available for public review at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/grays_harbor_salmon/ .
The commission will accept written comments submitted through Jan. 31 via email to [email protected] or by mail to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
The updated policy for lower Columbia River sturgeon fisheries includes several technical amendments to the version approved in 2011 and extends the policy through 2018. It does not affect the closure on retention of sturgeon below Bonneville Dam, effective until further notice to address conservation concerns.
In other business, the commission will hold public hearings on several other issues related to fish management. Those issues, which are not scheduled for a decision during the February meeting, include:
The commission will also consider a proposal by WDFW to purchase two acres of uplands and tidelands at Lynch Cove in Mason County. That land would be used to provide parking and access to waterfowl hunting on Hood Canal.
A complete agenda for the meeting is posted on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html .