WDFW Commission set to consider policy on Grays Harbor salmon fisheries

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:

  • Catch allocations for spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River.
  • Development of a pilot fishery for seine vessels on the Columbia River.
  • Adjustments in harvest seasons for clams and oysters on 20 beaches in Puget Sound.

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 .