OLYMPIA -- Area fishers are invited to attend a free workshop April 22 in Raymond to learn more about new types of selective commercial fishing gear being used or tested in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.
The workshop, scheduled from 9 a.m. until noon April 22 at the Raymond Community Center, is sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Willapa Alliance and other area fishing organizations.
Among those scheduled to speak at the workshop are two Canadian fishers who have been instrumental in introducing two types of selective gear the tangle net and the floating trap net to the British Columbia commercial salmon fishery in recent years.
The advantage of those gear types over conventional gill nets is that both are designed to capture salmon alive, allowing fishers to release species that need to be protected, said Geraldine Vander Haegen, a WDFW fish biologist who is arranging the workshop in cooperation with the Willapa Alliance.
"Like other agencies, we are looking for ways to increase fishing opportunities while also protecting those species that are in trouble," Vander Haegen said. "These new selective gear types are receiving consideration as a way to do that."
In addition to the Canadian perspective, those attending the workshop also will hear about upcoming experiments with tangle nets and floating trap nets in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and on the Naselle River.
"We recognize that any gear change represents a big commitment for fishers," Vander Haegen said. "The workshop will allow us to explore this technology together and figure out what makes sense for our fisheries."