February 05, 2010
Contact: Pat Pattillo, (360) 902-2705
Public meeting on salmon forecast
kicks off season-setting process
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 2.
With the first chinook salmon of the year already arriving in the Columbia River, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts of 2010 salmon returns that will be used to help establish salmon-fishing seasons for dozens of other waters around the state.
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 talk to fishery managers about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in the region.
"Public input is an important part of the season-setting process," said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW. "We encourage anyone who has an interest in recreational and commercial salmon fisheries to get involved in these discussions and take part in the development of upcoming fishing seasons."
WDFW has also scheduled seven additional public meetings focusing on regional salmon issues through early April.
Public review of the pre-season forecasts traditionally marks the start of the North of Falcon process, which brings state, tribal and federal fishery managers together to establish salmon seasons for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and the Washington coast.
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 2010 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 15 at the PFMC meeting in Portland, Ore.
While anglers will have a range of fishing opportunities this year, restrictions will be needed to protect wild salmon, including those listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"Our first priority is protecting and recovering wild salmon," Pattillo said. "That can be accomplished while still providing significant fishing opportunities on abundant hatchery fish and healthy wild populations."
More information about the North of Falcon process is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon, which will be updated periodically throughout the salmon season-setting process.
Other key meetings related to the North of Falcon process, all open to the public, are as follows:
- Feb. 18 - Strait of Juan de Fuca sport fisheries discussion, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Trinity Methodist Church, 100 South Blake Ave., Sequim.
- March 6-12 - Pacific Fishery Management Council, Doubletree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento.
- March 11 - First coastal fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano.
- March 15 - Columbia River fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., YMCA Community Room, 3609 Main Street, Vancouver, Wash.
- March 16 - First North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 210 11th Ave. S.W., Olympia.
- March 23 - Eastern Washington North of Falcon discussion, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Benton PUD, 2721 W. 10th Ave. Kennewick.
- March 24 - Second coastal fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Raymond Elks Lodge, 326 Third St., Raymond.
- March 25 - Puget Sound commercial fisheries discussion, 10 a.m.-noon, WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
- March 25 - Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
- March 30 - Final Grays Harbor/Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.
- April 6 - Second North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave. West, Lynnwood.
- April 10-15 - Final Pacific Fishery Management Council meeing, Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way, Portland, Ore.