600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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September 10, 2012
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission sets the stage for policy decisions
on Columbia River fisheries, Puget Sound shrimp

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission identified three commissioners to participate in a joint process with Oregon to develop potential alternatives for managing salmon and sturgeon fisheries in the lower Columbia River during a special meeting Sept. 5-6 in Olympia.

The commission also selected for further review four management options for the Puget Sound shrimp fishery.

The first joint meeting to discuss restructuring lower Columbia River fisheries is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Olympia. The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E.

The meeting is part of a process developed as an alternative to a citizen initiative that would ban gillnetting on Oregon's side of the Columbia River.

Last month, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider restructuring the fisheries. A copy of Kitzhaber's request, as well as a statement from WDFW Director Phil Anderson regarding the request, is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/director/kitzhaber_repsonse.html.

Washington commissioners Conrad Mahnken, Rolland Schmitten and Larry Carpenter will participate in the meetings, along with Anderson and other senior WDFW staff. Four citizen advisors from Washington also will be appointed to the workgroup.

Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission also is expected to assign three commissioners and four citizen advisors to the workgroup.

Additional public meetings on the proposed restructuring also will be scheduled this fall.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to allow public comment on the proposed alternatives at its October and November meetings in Olympia. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision at its December meeting in Olympia.

Meanwhile, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission received a briefing on the process to update the Puget Sound shrimp policy at its Sept. 5-6 meeting. The commission selected four spot shrimp fishery management options for further review after receiving input from commercial and recreational shrimp advisory groups.

The potential options, as well as draft Puget Sound shrimp policy language, are available for review on the commission's webpage http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/ps_shrimp.html.

The commission is scheduled to hold public hearings on the options during its October and November meetings. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision at its December meeting.