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February 10, 2006
Contact: Pat Pattillo, (360) 902-2705

Public meeting scheduled on 2006 salmon forecast

OLYMPIA – Anglers will get their first look at this year’s fishing opportunities for salmon during a public meeting in Olympia on Feb. 28.

Kicking off the annual season-setting process for salmon fisheries, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts of 2006 salmon returns, compiled by state and tribal biologists. The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the General Administration Building Auditorium at 11th and Columbia Street on the Capitol Campus.

Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to ask questions about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas.

“This is a great opportunity for anglers and others interested in Washington state’s salmon fisheries to take part in the process of developing these seasons,” said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings. “It’s important for us to hear from the public as we go about shaping this year’s salmon fisheries.”

Although anglers will have a wide range of fishing opportunities throughout the region this year, additional restrictions will be needed in some areas to protect wild salmon stocks listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“We want to provide anglers opportunities to catch fish, but conservation of weak, wild salmon populations is our first priority,” Koenings said.

Public review of WDFW’s pre-season salmon forecasts marks the start of the annual “North of Falcon” process. During that process, state, tribal and federal fisheries managers will meet throughout March and early April to establish salmon seasons for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas.

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 2006 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 7 at the PFMC meeting in Sacramento.

More information about the North of Falcon process is available on WDFW’s North of Falcon website which will be updated to include the pre-season salmon run-size forecasts after the Feb. 28 meeting.

Key North of Falcon meetings, all open to the public, are as follows:

  • Feb. 28 – Preseason forecasts and fishery discussions, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 11th and Columbia Street on the Capitol Campus, Olympia.

  • March 6-10 – Pacific Fishery Management Council, Seattle Marriott Hotel, 3201 S. 176th Street, SeaTac.

  • March 8 – Coastal regional fisheries discussion, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., South Bend Community Center.

  • March 9 – Puget Sound fisheries discussion, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.

  • March 13 – Columbia River fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, Wash.

  • March 15 – North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave West, Lynnwood.

  • March 30 – North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave West, Lynnwood.

  • April 3-7 – Final Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, DoubleTree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, Calif.