VANCOUVER - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds anglers that retaining any species of lamprey is not allowed, under new fishing rules developed for the 2005-06 season.
The new rule, which takes effect May 1, is included in the 2005-06 sport fishing rules package adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in February.
The lamprey restriction is highlighted on pages 11 and 23 of the 2005-06 Sport Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, now available at hundreds of retail license outlets across the state and available soon on WDFW's website, wdfw.wa.gov/.
While lamprey typically are not targeted by recreational anglers, some fishers use them for bait when fishing for sturgeon, northern pikeminnow and bass, said Bob Gibbons, WDFW anadromous fish manager.
In January 2003, four species of lamprey found in the Pacific Northwest, including the three species found in Washington state, were petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided it lacked information to list the lamprey under the ESA.
Several federal, state, tribal and private entities have formed the Columbia River Basin Lamprey Technical Workgroup to coordinate research projects. More information is available at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/columbiariver/lamprey.htm.