OLYMPIA -- The state Wild Salmonid Policy, protection of sea creatures, the
1997 salmon fishing season processes, elk and deer hunting permit quotas and draft
goals for the Department of Fish and Wildlife are among the key issues to be reviewed
by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in a w the draft policy
during a tour of the state and encouraged public review and feedback.
Under the plan, the department spells out its own preferred course of action to
rescue the salmon runs, including the creation statewide of local watershed councils.
The councils would work with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other state
agencies to determine habitat and other goals needed to protect and perpetuate fish
The department's draft policy also calls for the agency to set strict limits on wild
fish harvests, mark hatchery fish so they can readily be identified from wild ones, and
refrain from planting hatchery fish where they could have a significant impact on wild
The agency's preferred course of action is only one of a number of alternatives
presented in a draft environmental impact statement, which is called the Wild Salmonid
Policy. Salmonids include salmon, grayling, trout, char and whitefish.
"Wild salmon are in crisis. We have talked about troubled fish runs in
Washington state for years. All the compromises have been made and wild salmon
continue their downward spiral," Shanks said. "Wild salmon have been here thousands
of years. They are a heritage as well as a resource. The only ethical response is to shift
this agency's focus to their recovery."
The plan will undergo public scrutiny at 10 meetings scheduled across the state
in April and May. After considering public input, some version of the plan will be
adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, the nine-member citizens
panel that determines department policy.
"It's clear that all of us, from the cities around Puget Sound, to the rancher in
eastern Washington to the comme