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

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November 27, 2006
Contact: Nancy Burkhart, (360) 902-2449

Commission agenda includes proposal
to expand bird testing for avian influenza

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Dec. 8-9 in Tumwater to consider a variety of proposals, including one that would require game-bird farmers to test their flocks for avian influenza at least once a year.

The two-day public meeting will be held at the Comfort Inn and Conference Center, 1620 74th Ave. S.W., Tumwater. An agenda is posted on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/dec0906.htm.

The proposed bird-testing rule would require approximately 80 game farms raising game birds and waterfowl in Washington state to test 10 percent of their flock – up to a maximum of 30 birds – each year. Testing is currently conducted on a voluntary basis.

Although the strain of avian influenza transmissible to humans has not been found in North America, other strains of the virus have been found in wild birds, said Dave Ware, game manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Ware noted that the proposal before the commission was jointly developed by WDFW in cooperation with the Washington Department of Agriculture.

“This proposal is part of this state’s overall effort to expand monitoring for avian flu,” Ware said. “It is designed to help protect both public health and regional bird populations.”

In other matters, the nine-member commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on proposals to:

  • Ban the harvest of green sturgeon by commercial fisheries.
  • Adopt spring bear hunting seasons for 2007-09, including a new hunt proposed near Copalis.
  • Expand hunting opportunities through landowner hunting permits on private ranches in Grant and Asotin counties.
  • Increase the number of moose raffle permits from one to two in 2007.
  • Modify the boundaries of several deer- and elk-hunting areas.

In addition, WDFW staff will brief the commission on a variety of issues, including the WDFW youth sport fishing program, the tiger muskie fishery, the Private Lands Access Program and renegotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.