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January 23, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Fishing issues take center stage at Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting

PORT TOWNSEND -- Fishing issues will predominate when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife meets here in formal session on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

The Friday meeting opens at 1p.m. at the Point Hudson Resort and Marina Pavilion, Point Hudson Harbor in Port Townsend. Saturday's session begins at 8 a.m. at the same location.

In addition to addressing a variety of fish and shellfish issues, the commission also is scheduled to consider changing the hunting areas that may be used by 1997 bighorn sheep permit holders; establishing a reward system for identifying poachers and establishing rules for landowner elk and deer damage hunts.

Highlights of fish and shellfish items on the agenda include consideration of proposals:

  • Establishing policy guidelines for the department in the upcoming North of Falcon and Pacific Fishery Management Council public processes that will set the 1997 salmon fishing seasons for sports, commercial and tribal fishers
  • Amending the state's sportfishing rules for 1997-1998
  • Providing seasons and limits for sturgeon, smelt, herring and other Columbia River fish
  • Limiting commercial trawl fisheries for cod in Puget Sound to conserve the species
  • Requiring permits to import kelp into the state to prevent the spread of plant diseases and pests
  • Implementing new commercial crab fishing seasons, area and rules as required by the federal court U.S. v. Washington (Rafeedie) decision
  • Amending coastal commercial crab fishing regulations to prohibit the use of groundlines (groundlines are cables connecting several crab pots to make retrieval easier)
  • Amending Puget Sound commercial shrimp fishing rules to implement the requirements of the federal U.S. v. Washington (Rafeedie) decision
  • Establishing shellfish transfer permits designed to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases
The public will have numerous opportunities to present testimony to the commission during the two-day meeting.