WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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April 09, 2001
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509)456-4073

Commission updates rotenone use, sets hunting seasons and rules, provides economic assistance to commercial fishers

SPOKANE -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission asked for an updated process to use rotenone for lake fishing improvement, set 2001 hunting seasons and rules, and provided economic assistance to commercial salmon fishers at a two-day meeting that concluded here today.

After a briefing on rotenone by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff, the Commission asked for an updated process to continue using the natural chemical to improve lake fishing in eastern Washington. As a result of a recent California federal district court ruling, the process now needs to include a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. That permit procedure will need to be worked out with the Washington Department of Ecology, and until then, no lakes will be treated with rotenone.

In addition to the new NPDES permit, the WDFW rotenone use program will see an update of its 1992 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement under the State Environmental Protection Act, change in application method, new monitoring of health and legal issues, and expansion of public outreach. By Commission request, WDFW will also produce a cost-benefit comparison of using rotenone and trout fry stocking versus other alternatives.

"Rotenone is just one tool in our toolbox of ways to improve fishing in Washington," said WDFW director Jeff Koenings. "We'll keep it as a tool, but it needs updating."

Hunting rule changes adopted by the Commission included:

  • Mandatory reports for deer, elk, bear, and turkey hunters, including incentives for early reporting (special permit drawing eligibility) and penalties for failure to report (ineligible for future license purchase)

  • Expanded antlerless deer hunting in several eastern Washington game management units (GMU) to address agricultural damage problems from expanding populations and to provide opportunity for youth, senior, and disabled hunters

  • Expanded antlerless elk hunting in several GMUs in the Yakima herd to address damage problems where populations are healthy, increased bull permits in the same area because bull ratios have improved, and continued liberal seasons near Hanford to further reduce the population and damage problems

  • Additional fall turkey hunting permits in northeast Washington where populations are abundant (50 in Ferry County, 25 in Pend Oreille County), and increased permits in Stevens County (from 250 to 300) and in GMU 133 in Lincoln County (from 30 to 75)

  • Additional type of non-toxic shot allowed (tungsten-nickel-iron), more WDFW wildlife areas where non-toxic shot is required for bird hunting (Vancouver Lake, Shillapoo, Cowlitz, and three sites on Whidbey Island), and extension of non-toxic shot requirement on those and other previously identified lands to all shotgun shooting (including targets)

  • Opening of Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Washington to spring turkey hunting

  • Increase in moose permits by 30 percent (25 additional permits), increase in bighorn sheep permits by 36 percent (8 additional permits), and decrease in mountain goat permits by 36 percent (14 fewer permits).

Complete details of all hunting seasons and rules will be available later this month in pamphlet form and on WDFW's website.

The Commission approved rules to provide economic adjustment assistance to Washington non-Indian commercial salmon fishers affected by the 1999 Pacific Salmon Treaty. That treaty reduced the allowable harvest of Fraser River sockeye salmon. Funds for the purchase of qualified Puget Sound commercial licenses come from both the federal and state government.

In other action, the Commission:

  • amended trapping rules to coincide with state law changes on body-gripping traps with the passage of Initiative 713 last fall;

  • and increased the license dealer fee from fifty cents to one dollar for charter businesses that are not on the computerized system and only sell temporary two-day fishing licenses.