February 01, 2008
Contact: Pat Pattillo, (360) 902-2705
Public meeting scheduled March 4
on 2008 salmon forecast
UPDATE: The public discussion of management objectives and preliminary options for Puget Sound commercial fisheries has been moved from March 12 to the March 18 North of Falcon meeting in Olympia.
OLYMPIA – Anglers, commercial fishers and others interested in Washington state salmon fisheries can get a preview of this year's salmon returns and proposed fishing seasons during a public meeting here March 4.
Kicking off the annual salmon season-setting process, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts – compiled by state and tribal biologists – of 2008 salmon returns. The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the General Administration Building Auditorium at 11th Ave. and Columbia St. on the Capitol Campus.
Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to ask fishery managers about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in the region.
Public review of WDFW’s pre-season salmon forecasts marks the start of the annual “North of Falcon” season-setting process. Throughout March and early April, state, tribal and federal fisheries managers will meet to establish salmon seasons for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas.
“This is a great opportunity for people to get involved in the process and offer their input on the upcoming fishing seasons,” said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings. “It’s important for us to hear from the public as we go about developing these recreational and commercial salmon fisheries.”
Koenings said anglers will have an array of salmon fishing opportunities this year despite restrictions needed to protect wild stocks listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“As always, conservation will drive the development of these salmon fisheries,” Koenings said. “We will continue to protect and recover ESA-listed salmon while providing significant fishing opportunities on abundant hatchery fish and healthy wild populations.”
The North of Falcon process is held in conjunction with public meetings conducted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which establishes fishing seasons in ocean water three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
Final adoption of the 2008 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 11 at the PFMC meeting in SeaTac.
More information about the North of Falcon process is available on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon/index.htm, which will be updated periodically throughout the salmon season-setting process.
Other key North of Falcon meetings, all open to the public, are as follows:
- March 5 – Grays Harbor fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main Street, Montesano.
- March 6 – Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Raymond Elks Lodge, 326 Third Street, Raymond.
- March 9-14 – Pacific Fishery Management Council, DoubleTree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, Calif.
- March 12 – Puget Sound commercial fisheries discussion, 10 a.m.-noon, WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
The public discussion of management objectives and preliminary options for Puget Sound commercial fisheries has been moved to the March 18 North of Falcon meeting in Olympia.
- March 12 – Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
- March 17 – Columbia River fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, Wash.
- March 18 – First North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 11th Avenue and Columbia Street on the Capitol Campus, Olympia.
- March 28 – Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay fisheries meeting, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Avenue, Lacey.
- March 31 – Pacific Fishery Management Council public hearing, 7 p.m., Chateau Westport, 710 Hancock Street, Westport.
- April 1 – Second North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Avenue West, Lynnwood.
- April 6-11 – Final Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, Seattle Marriot Hotel, 3201 S. 176th Street, SeaTac.