OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Dec. 3-4 in Ocean Shores and is expected to consider adopting permanent rules restricting imports of deer and elk harvested from states and Canadian provinces where chronic wasting disease (CWD) is found in wild populations.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is also expected to take action on rules regarding the sale of the offspring of wild-caught raptors.
The nine-member citizen panel is expected to vote on Dec. 3 whether to make permanent emergency rules adopted in August that restricted the importation of bone-in deer and elk carcasses or body parts harvested in eight states and one Canadian province.
A disease of the central nervous system in deer and elk, CWD is a prion disease related to so-called "mad cow" disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. For more information on CWD visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/cwd/ on the WDFW website.
Under current emergency rules, hunters are allowed to bring back de-boned deer and elk meat from the CWD-affected regions, as well as finished taxidermy mounts; skulls, antlers and teeth with all soft tissue removed; and hides or capes without heads attached.
Whole, bone-in deer and elk carcasses and parts can also be brought back to Washington if they are harvested from states or provinces where CWD is not present in wild-animal populations.
The commission is also expected to discuss rules regarding the captive propagation of raptors. Under current state laws, live wildlife held in captivity or their progeny may not be sold or otherwise commercialized except by rule of the commission.
A proposal by the Washington Falconer's Association would exempt from the existing rule the progeny of wild-caught raptors, including hawks and falcons. WDFW staff have opposed the amendment, and will ask the commission to clarify the existing rule to specifically state that progeny of wild-caught raptors may not be bred or sold.
The commission is also expected to take action on a number of items, including:
- Establishing 2005 hunting seasons and regulations for Private Lands Wildlife Management Areas;
- Implementing a pilot hunt aimed at reducing tree damage by bears on the Kapowsin Tree Farm and Capitol Forest area;
- Adopting shellfish disease control protection rules; and
- Prohibiting the commercial sale of krill.
The commission is also expected to discuss and consider approval of a report to the Washington State Legislature on the activities of the commission's advisory committee for persons with disabilities, a pilot program set to expire July 1, 2005.
The commission agenda also includes updates by WDFW staff on population assessments of three razor clam reserves being conducted in conjunction with the Quinault Indian Nation, and on the Wiley Slough restoration design project.
A public hearing is scheduled on a proposed interim rule regarding landing Canadian origin food fish and shellfish in Washington ports. This hearing was continued from the Nov. 5-6 workshop.
The commission will meet at the Ocean Shores Shilo Inn, 707 Ocean Shores Blvd. NW. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3, and at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 4. A meeting agenda is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/dec0404.htm on the Internet.