June 04, 2002
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408
Fish and Wildlife Commission to consider raising penalty for taking protected fish
OLYMPIA – In a meeting here Friday and Saturday (June 7 and 8) the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on rules that would lead to stiffer penalties for taking threatened or endangered fish.
The commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., Friday in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE., in Olympia. The meeting is scheduled to re-convene in the same location at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The new penalty language for harvesting fish listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act is aimed at differentiating the offense from other lesser recreational fishing violations. Currently, taking ESA-protected fish is subject to the same state penalties as other violations for recreational fishing in a closed season, with bail set at $100 per violation.
The proposed change would treat each protected fish illegally taken as a separate offense, and would pave the way for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to ask the courts to set higher bail forfeiture for taking ESA-listed fish.
In other action the commission is scheduled to:
- Present appreciation awards to hunter education instructors Fred Burr of Seattle, Sam Dietz of Pullman, Robert Fahnestock of Centralia, James Kramer of Kirkland, William Newby of Marblemount, Cliff Phillips of Tacoma, Tendon Wakeley of Bellevue, Robert Emerson of Renton and Howard Gardner of Richland.
- Amend 2002-03 hunting rules to set a season for band-tailed pigeons, increase fall turkey hunting permits in northeastern Washington and establish an extended western Washington pheasant season in December.
- Hear briefings on fish management issues including marine fish conservation measures and needed reductions in yellow rockfish harvest, proposed management measures for the coastal Dungeness crab summer fishery, and proposed rules to restrict salmon egg sales in an attempt to prevent wastage.
- Hear briefings on wildlife management issues including 2001-02 public safety cougar removal season results, regional task groups' review of public safety cougar removal activity, the background and status of the hunter education program, resident Canada goose management and the status of ruffed and blue grouse.
- Make minor changes to rules governing mandatory reporting incentive permit hunts and auction and raffle permits.
A copy of the preliminary agenda for the commission meeting may be viewed on the Internet.