2023 North of Falcon- Puget Sound Commercial Fisheries

Rule-making status: Permanent

Rule Making Reference# P2023-04
The purpose of this rulemaking is to regulate the commercial salmon fisheries in Puget Sound. These rules are part of a comprehensive suite of rulemaking packages to implement the new 2023-2024 salmon seasons for Washington State developed through the broader North of Falcon process pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s North of Falcon Policy C-3608 for 2019-2023 and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), RCW 34.05.

The North of Falcon process typically begins in January with the filing of the Pre-proposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101) and consists of government-to-government meetings involving the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), treaty tribes, and WDFW representatives. Separate public meetings are held with stakeholders—both at a statewide and regional level—to review preseason run size forecasts, NMFS guidance relative to allowable impacts for species listed under the Endangered Species Act, which includes salmon, but other protected species as well, such as Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Stakeholder meetings specific to the Puget Sound fisheries were held in March and April 2023. Additional public comment was accepted subsequent to the Proposed Rule-making (CR-102) for the 2023 Puget Sound Commercial Salmon Fishery filed on May 3, 2023 (WSR 23-10-089), including during the public hearing on the proposed rules held on June 8, 2023. The comprehensive North of Falcon meeting schedule and the meeting agendas, handouts, and audio recordings of the public meetings are available on WDFW’s website at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon/public-meetings

While these rules regulate only commercial fisheries, the seasons specified in these rules are structured in a coordinated
manner intended to provide commercial and recreational fishing opportunities in Puget Sound while ensuring conservation
requirements and management objectives in federal and state laws and regulations, state/tribal harvest management
agreements, and Fish and Wildlife Commission policies are met.

Even though drafted as amendments to preceding rules, these new amendments function as a coordinated
and unitary fishery rulemaking package for the 2023-2024 fishery season, and thus substantively replace prior years’
fisheries in Puget Sound. Specifically, these rules replace and supersede the language in these WACs in their entirety:
WAC 220-354-080 Puget Sound salmon - Closed Areas
WAC 220-354-120 Puget Sound salmon - Purse seine – Open periods
WAC 220-354-160 Puget Sound salmon - Gillnet – Open periods
WAC 220-354-180 Puget Sound salmon - Reef net – Open periods
WAC 220-354-210 Puget Sound salmon - Beach seine – Open periods
WAC 220-301-030 Puget Sound Salmon Management and Catch Reporting Areas

Included in the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s North of Falcon Policy C-3608 for 2019-2023 is a delegation of authority to the Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt the implementing regulations, including this rulemaking, resulting from the North of Falcon process.

Public comments

To view comments submitted on this proposal, please visit the North of Falcon- Puget Sound Commercial Fisheries public engagement page.

The public comment period has closed as of June 8, 2023.

Public hearing

June 8, 2023 at 2:00 pm - View the Zoom Webinar Recording

Date of adoption: June 14, 2023

For more information

Staff Contact: Kelly Henderson at Kelly.Henderson@dfw.wa.gov

Assistance for Additional Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities Contact:
Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator  
Phone: (360) 902-2349, TTY: 1-800-833-6388 OR 711  
Email: Title6@dfw.wa.gov