OLYMPIA – A public meeting scheduled Dec. 7 in Montesano to discuss several commercial fishing issues including the sale of salmon eggs and reporting requirements for fish buyers will be held at the high school, not at City Hall as previously announced.
The meeting will still begin at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 but will be held in The Commons at Montesano High School, 303 North Church St., rather than at City Hall.
A scheduling conflict at City Hall necessitated the change in locations, said Dick Geist, a fisheries manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), which is also holding similar meetings in Mill Creek and Longview.
The three meetings are designed to solicit public comments on four changes proposed by WDFW to permanent commercial fishing regulations for salmon and sturgeon. The agency will take those comments into account when it drafts proposed changes in the regulations in mid-December for consideration by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in February.
The department will also accept written comments received by Dec. 12.
The four topics on the agenda in Montesano and the other locations 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.
Meeting times and locations for all three cities 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.