OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Legislature already has some marching orders, from the governor’s budget proposal to a bill by state School Superintendent Randy Dorn to raise sales taxes to fund education. A 2012 court ruling said the state must increase school funding and improve student outcomes – and advocates of after-school programs say they…
by Dave Haviland •
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The final push in a decade-long effort to clear Puget Sound of derelict fishing nets within 105 feet of the surface will get under way later this year with funding approved by the Washington State Legislature.
The state budget adopted last month provides $3.5 million for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to complete the task in partnership with the Northwest Straits Foundation, which has led the net-removal effort since 2002.
Since then, divers working for the non-profit organization have removed 4,437 lost or abandoned fishing nets, 2,765 crab pots and 42 shrimp pots from the waters of Puget Sound. Animals found dead or entangled in that gear include porpoises, sea lions, seabirds, canary rockfish, chinook salmon and Dungeness crab.
According to one predictive catch model, those derelict nets were entangling 3.2 million animals annually every year they remained in the water.
Robyn du Pré, executive director of the foundation, said the new funding will support the removal of approximately 1,000 derelict nets in high-priority areas of Puget Sound after current funding runs out in December.