600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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December 31, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, 360-902-2256 or Greg Bargmann, 360-902-2825

Forage fish management to be discussed Jan. 12

MILL CREEK -- A public information meeting to discuss the details of a proposed management plan for herring and other forage fish on which salmon and other recreationally and commercially important species feed will be held at 10 a.m. Jan 12 at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's office here.

The office is located at 16018 Mill Creek Road. Mill Creek is located between Everett and Seattle.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed plan when it meets Jan. 23 and 24 in La Conner.

The proposed management plan suggests managing herring, smelt, anchovy and sardine stocks on an ecosystem approach rather than the current species-by- species approach.

Bruce Crawford, who heads WDFW's Fish Management Program, said a management plan for forage fish is important because little is known about the stocks and they play a vital role in the marine ecology. He noted they also are the target of sport and commercial fishers as well as other fish species and marine mammals and birds.

Because so little is known about the stocks, the plan proposes a conservative management approach. That means reducing fisheries and limiting other human activities if there is evidence significant harm could be done to the forage fish.

Public comments made at the Jan. 12 meeting will be summarized and presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. To comment directly to the commission, testimony may be presented at the Jan. 23-24 La Conner meeting or in writing by Jan. 16.

Letters should be sent to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98507-1091.

Copies of the plan may be obtained by calling WDFW at (360) 902-2825.