OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear public testimony on a proposed penalty for failing to report crab caught in the Puget Sound recreational fishery and take action on upcoming migratory waterfowl hunting seasons during a public meeting scheduled Aug. 8-9 in Lynnwood.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites, 20610 44th Ave. West.
Commissioners also are scheduled to meet with representatives from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Aug. 7 at the same location. During the joint meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., the two commissions are expected to discuss their co-management responsibilities. The meeting is open to the public, but no comments will be taken.
During the Aug. 8-9 meeting, the public will have an opportunity to comment on a proposed $10 penalty for Puget Sound sport crab fishers who fail to comply with state catch-reporting requirements. The commission is scheduled to take action on the proposed penalty during its meeting Sept. 5-6 in Olympia.
Sport crabbers in Puget Sound are required to record their Dungeness crab catch on two separate catch record cards – one for the summer season and one for the fall/winter season. People have the option of reporting that harvest information on the Internet or by mailing in their catch cards.
Under the proposal, a crabber who fails to report would be assessed $10 before a license vendor would issue a new catch record card for a subsequent Puget Sound crab season.
Even after WDFW created a website that makes it easier to voluntarily report, only about one-third of the number of people required to return their catch record cards report their harvest to the department, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish policy coordinator.
“The goal is to give people an incentive to report their catch information,” Childers said. “These catch reports are a vital tool in managing the crab fishery and developing future seasons. That’s why it’s important that we hear from everyone who participates in the Puget Sound crab fishery.”
The commission also is scheduled to conduct a public hearing and take action on proposed 2008-09 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 this season for canvasback and scaup to address population declines for those species.
In other action, the commission will take public comments and consider approving a correction to the boundary description for the Johnson/Debay Slough Game Reserve.
Citizens also will have an opportunity to comment on a proposed 2009-2015 game management plan, which is currently being developed by WDFW. The commission is scheduled to take action on the new six-year plan during its meeting Sept. 5-6 in Olympia. Information about the development of that plan is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/management/2009-2015 on WDFW’s website.
Also during the August meeting, the commission is scheduled to take action on amendments to cougar hunting regulations, two land transactions, the department’s Capital Program Action Plan and the proposed 2009-2011 Capital and Operating budgets.
In addition, the commission is scheduled to hear briefings on:
- A Fir Island snow goose management plan.
- Genetic studies on south fork Skykomish River steelhead.
- WDFW’s role in local land use planning.
- A Columbia River select area fisheries evaluation project.
- Development of wildlife surveys.
- Status of the federal Farm Bill.
- The Office of Farmland Preservation.
- Costs associated with Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings.
More information on the commission’s meetings is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.