OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to take action on a new management policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries and a proposal to reopen fisheries for some flatfish in two bays in Hood Canal at a public meeting June 12-13 in Olympia.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the Governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will also invite public comments on new rules addressing conflicts between people and wildlife.
The commission will meet both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., on the state Capital Campus in Olympia. A complete agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.
State fishery managers have been working since last October with a citizen committee and the public to develop options for a new policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries. The current proposal, which would take effect next year, includes provisions to conserve wild salmon, clarify catch allocation, and reduce conflicts between sport and commercial fishers in the bay.
In separate action, the commission will consider a proposal by WDFW to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in Quilcene Bay and the northern portion of Dabob Bay in Hood Canal.
Due to low-dissolved oxygen conditions, Hood Canal has been closed to fishing for flatfish since August 2004, but fishery managers believe they can allow recreational fishing for some flatfish in Quilcene and Dabob bays while providing adequate protection for those stocks.
WDFW is also seeking a variety of changes in state rules addressing crop damage, predation on livestock and other sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. One proposal clarifies requirements for a crop or livestock producer to receive state compensation for losses caused by wildlife. Another provision modifies certification requirements for state Wildlife Control Operators.
WDFW will also accept written comments on this issue through June 30 online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/wildlife_interaction/ or by mail to “Wildlife Conflict Rules,” Wildlife Program, at 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501.
In addition, WDFW is proposing to acquire 15.4 acres to improve elk fencing in Kittitas County, and purchase two smaller parcels in Kitsap and Snohomish counties for mitigation purposes. The department also proposes granting an easement for a water pipeline in Clark County, and auctioning off four properties in Skagit and Whatcom counties that have not provided suitable habitat for fish and wildlife.