600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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February 26, 2015
Contact: Craig Burley, (360) 902-2784

Public can propose changes
to freshwater Puget Sound and Coast fisheries

OLYMPIA – People with ideas about how to improve state freshwater sportfisheries in the Puget Sound and Washington coastal regions can submit their proposals to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) through March 31.

State fish managers will consider proposed rules submitted by the public for any fish species except salmon, so long as they apply specifically to the freshwater areas of the Puget Sound and coast, including their rivers, streams or lakes.

People can propose a fishing rule change online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ or obtain a submission form by calling (360) 902-2700.

This year’s focus on specific geographic areas – freshwaters of Puget Sound and the coast – marks the second year that WDFW has diverted from the past practice of considering fishing rules proposed for waters anywhere in the state each year. This approach allows fishery managers and the public to concentrate on specific proposals and their potential effects in specific waters, said Craig Burley, WDFW fish program manager.

“We expect to receive numerous proposals on freshwater fisheries in Puget Sound and the coast this year,” Burley said. “Next year, we’ll look at proposals for saltwater fisheries in those same areas.” 
Sportfishing rule changes developed through this process will be available for public review and comment in July.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule changes in November. The commission, which has the final word on which fishing rules are adopted, is expected to take final action on the 2016-17 sportfishing rule changes at a public meeting in December.