November 22, 2000
Contact: Dick Geist (360) 902-2733
WDFW sets public meetings on commercial fishing rules
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a series of three public meetings in early December to solicit comments on four commercial fishing issues, ranging from the sale of salmon eggs to reporting procedures for commercial buyers.
Comments received at meetings in Mill Creek, Montesano and Longview will be considered when the agency drafts proposed changes in permanent commercial fishing regulations for salmon and sturgeon in mid-December, said WDFW fisheries manager Dick Geist. The department will also accept written comments received by Dec. 12.
"We have some ideas about how to address these issues, but we really want to hear from fishers and the public before we get too far down the track," Geist said. "We welcome any comments that are pertinent to the agenda."
Geist said three of the four topics on the agenda may affect statewide commercial fisheries, while the fourth is a housekeeping measure dealing with purse seine net dimensions in the Puget Sound fishery alone. They include:
- Faster reporting of dealer purchases: WDFW is considering a requirement that in certain instances wholesale dealers report – by fax, e-mail, or telephone – the previous day's purchases by a specified hour. In some cases, rapid reporting of fish purchases can be a critical factor in fisheries management.
- Greater distinction between commercial and personal use: The agency is considering a rule that any fish taken home be documented by a sales receipt.
- Better documentation of egg sales: WDFW is considering a rule that salmon eggs cannot be removed from fish and sold separately.
- Greater flexibility in seine nets: The agency wants to clarify the existing rule on the dimensions of the bunt section purse seine nets in Puget Sound, giving fishers the option to use a smaller bunt section if they choose.
"If people have other ideas about how we can accomplish these goals, we're eager to hear them," Geist said.
Meeting times and locations are as follows:
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, Montesano High School, 303 North Church St., Montesano
- 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, Cowlitz Public Utility District Office, 961 12th Ave., Longview
Those who are unable to attend any of the meetings but who wish to share their views may write Attn: Dick Geist, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, or fax comments to WDFW at (360) 902-2949. Comments also may be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who send comments by fax or e-mail are asked to note as the subject, "Comments on new commercial fishing rules." Comments received no later than Dec. 12 will be given full and equal consideration to presentations received at the public meetings.
Copies of final proposals will be sent to anyone submitting a request through the addresses and fax number noted above. Proposals will be on the Fish and Wildlife Commission's agenda for hearing and adoption at meetings scheduled Feb. 9 and 10 in Tukwila.