WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

February 15, 2000
Contact: Tim Flint (360) 249-1229

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WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE: Meeting previews Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor salmon fisheries

OLYMPIA Fisheries managers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will discuss the outlook for this year's salmon fishing seasons in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor at a public meeting March 7 in South Bend.

Commercial and sport fishers as well as interested non-fishers are invited to attend the meeting, scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the South Bend Community Center, 916 West 1st St.

Tim Flint, Fish Program Manager for WDFW's Region 6 office, will present the agency's pre-season forecasts for salmon expected to return to Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Flint will discuss run-size predictions, stock status, and other issues, and invite public comments and ideas on commercial and recreational, season options and resource protection needs.

"This meeting is designed to give everyone a chance to discuss all the options before the seasons are actually determined," Flint said. "We can't guarantee that everyone will get what they want, but we definitely want to know what their preferences are with regard to seasons and other issues."

Flint emphasized that the upcoming meeting is an informational session and that decisions regarding salmon fishing seasons will be made during the North of Falcon and Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in March and April.

Flint noted that WDFW staff have been meeting with Willapa Bay fishers since November as part of an initial effort to establish a regional management plan for Willapa Bay fisheries. An overview of that effort and a review of the 1999 fisheries in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor will be among the topics discussed at the March 7 meeting, Flint said.