Non-native game fish policy development

In December 2019, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) directed staff with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to begin development of a Non-Native Game Fish and Fisheries Policy.   

Non-native game fish are a significant contributor to recreational fisheries and are growing in popularity throughout Washington. The goal of the policy is to provide further guidance to fisheries managers on how to balance the risks certain non-native game fish may pose to native species and ecosystems with the growing demand for this important recreational opportunity.  

Agency staff and advisors are working to develop a draft policy that takes into account the diverse perspectives while upholding the policy direction provided by the legislature in 2019 to liberalize regulations for non-native gamefish in anadromous waters, as well as guidance from the FWC in their blue sheet. (PDF) Updates will be posted on this page as development of the policy progresses.

In summer 2020, WDFW formed the Ad-hoc Non-native Gamefish and Fisheries Advisory Committee to provide input throughout the policy development process. A draft version of the policy (PDF) was made available in early March for public comment. Public comment closed in May. 

Input from the public is an important part of the policy development process and will be solicited at various stages in the process. To provide input on this policy, the public can tune into meetings of the Ad-hoc Non-native Gamefish and Fisheries Advisory Committee, attending Commission meetings or by filling out the public comment form below. 

The Commission voted to adopt the policy at its December 2021 meeting; view meeting agendas and additional details at the Commission webpage

Draft policy

Public comment on an initial draft of the policy was open through May 5, 2021. Public comment under the State Environmental Policy Review Act was open through Nov. 19. 

View the draft Non-Native Game Fish Policy (PDF)

Public meetings

WDFW held a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, March 16 from 6-8 p.m. to discuss the draft non-native game fish policy and potential management options. View a recording of that meeting.

The Commission also heard updates on policy development at its June and October meetings. View a recording of each of those meetings below. 

Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting video recorded on 6/25/2021
Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting video recorded on 10/22/2021