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

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July 23, 2010
Contact: Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267

Commission to hold public hearings
on Puget Sound crab, waterfowl seasons

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing during its Aug. 6-7 meeting in Olympia on a revised policy guiding management of Dungeness crab fisheries in Puget Sound and three potential alternatives for recreational crab fishing seasons beginning in 2011.

In addition, the commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing and take action on proposed 2010-11 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons.

The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene for its regular meeting Aug. 6-7 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. both days.

During the second day of the meeting, the commission is scheduled to review and take public comment on the draft Dungeness crab management policy and the alternatives for recreational crab fishing seasons.

The commission is currently accepting written public comment on the draft policy, available for review at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/policies/draft_c-3609_16jul2010.pdf. Written comments on the draft policy will be accepted through Aug. 2. Comments can be emailed to commission@dfw.wa.gov or mailed to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

The commission is expected to take action on a final Puget Sound Dungeness crab management policy and select a recreational crab season that would be incorporated into that policy at its October public meeting.

The commission selected the three potential season alternatives for further review in June after receiving input from recreational crabbers and WDFW’s commercial and recreational crab fishery advisory groups. The three potential alternatives are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2010/06/ps_dungeness_alternatives.pdf.

To receive public input on the potential season alternatives, WDFW scheduled a series of four public meetings in late July.

In other business during the August meeting, the commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing and take action on proposed 2010-11 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons. Under the seasons proposed by WDFW, the general duck season would be open 107 days, as it was last year. However, the proposal calls for more conservative regulations for sea ducks this year to address population declines for the species in Puget Sound.

The commission also is scheduled to take action on:

  • A proposal to prohibit possession of lead shot on two properties in the Chehalis River Valley in Grays Harbor County, to reduce the risk of wildlife health issues associated with lead shot ingestion.

  • Amendments to state falconry rules to align them with recently adopted federal regulations.

  • Restrictions on the importation of dead wildlife from Virginia and North Dakota. The two states have discovered chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wildlife. The proposed restrictions, which already apply to 11 other states and two Canadian provinces, are aimed at protecting Washington’s deer and elk populations from the disease.

Prior to the Aug. 6-7 meeting, the commission will conduct a special meeting Aug. 5 to consider for approval WDFW’s 2011-13 operating and capital budget requests, as well as the department’s legislative proposals for 2011. During the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Room 175 in the Natural Resources Building, the commission also will be briefed on the Puget Sound nearshore restoration program and alternative commercial fishing gear in the Columbia River.

Agendas for the two meetings are available on the commission’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2010/.