OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold public hearings on a proposed policy for salmon fisheries in Grays Harbor and three other fishing policies during a public meeting scheduled Jan. 10-11 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene both days at 8:30 a.m. in the Evergreen Room of the Comfort Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 1620 74th Ave. S.W. in Tumwater.

An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

In February, the commission is scheduled to take action on a new Grays Harbor salmon-management policy, designed to meet state conservation and catch-sharing objectives for recreational and commercial fisheries in those waters.

During this month’s meeting, the commission will accept public comments on a draft policy for those fisheries, developed by state fishery managers, a citizen advisory group, and the public. The draft policy is posted for public review on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/grays_harbor_salmon/.

The commission will also accept written comments submitted through Jan. 9 via email to [email protected] or by mail to Ron Warren, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

The public will also have an opportunity to comment on three other state fishery policies scheduled for discussion at the meeting:

  • Lower Columbia River salmon management:  Commissioners will review the results of the broad-based policy approved last year that set the course for restructuring the gillnet fishery, banning the use of barbless hooks, and effecting other management changes on the state’s largest river.
  • White sturgeon retention:  Due to conservation concerns, the Columbia River is currently closed to retention of white sturgeon below Bonneville Dam until further notice. The commission will discuss minor changes to the sturgeon policy language that will not affect current regulations.
  • North of Falcon:  The commission will discuss a policy designed to provide guidance to WDFW in negotiating this year’s salmon-fishing seasons.

In other business, the commission will consider adopting changes in fishing rules on two rivers. One would prohibit fishing from a boat with an internal combustion motor on the lower Naselle River in Pacific County, while the other would increase the daily catch limit to 16 walleye on the lower San Poil River in Ferry County.