WDFW seeks public input on draft policy for non-native game fish management

Date
Contact

Steve Caromile, 360-902-8315
Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

WDFW will hold 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. The public is invited to attend and provide comment. If you are unable to attend online, you may call in by dialing 564-999-2000 and entering the conference ID: 818 735 772.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is asking for feedback from the public on an early draft of a policy to guide management of non-native game fish across the state.

Non-native game fish – a category that includes bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, and some trout species – are a popular option for many anglers throughout Washington, and provide significant economic benefits to local communities. They can also provide benefits to native ecosystems and help rebuild fisheries, depending on location.

However, some non-native game fish species may present a threat to native species through predation, competition, or habitat alteration.

In December 2019, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission directed WDFW staff to begin development of a policy for management of these non-native species. WDFW formed an ad-hoc advisory group to help guide development of the policy, and has now developed an initial draft with options for topics including population management, fishing regulations, and habitat enhancement and restoration.

“This is an important policy that will help us define how we manage these fish and fisheries,” said Steve Caromile, WDFW’s Inland Fish Program manager. “We wanted to get public feedback early in the process to help us create a policy that considers the diversity of stakeholders interested in the management of these species.”

The public is invited to provide comment on their preferred options for the draft policy on the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/non-native-game-fish. The draft policy is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/draft_non-native_game_fish_policy_0.pdf

To request a paper copy of the survey, call 360-902-0045. Written comments may be mailed to:

Fish Program
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504

The public comment period is open through Monday, April 5.  WDFW will host a virtual public meeting to discuss the draft policy from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16. Additional details for that meeting will be posted at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/non-native-game-fish when available.

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.