To protect and restore rockfish populations in Puget Sound, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) developed a Puget Sound Rockfish Conservation Plan. This management plan -- approved in March 2011 -- includes policies, strategies and actions designed to help restore and maintain abundance, distribution, diversity, and long-term productivity of rockfish populations in Puget Sound.
The plan also offers a framework for state fish managers to follow in developing regulations, establishing priorities, and providing guidelines for the development of additional plans with tribal co-managers.
Key provisions of the plan include:
- Managing fisheries in Puget Sound to ensure the health and productivity of all rockfish species.
- Utilizing science-based marine conservation areas that, with other actions, aid in natural production of rockfish populations and their habitats.
- Working with the Northwest Straits Commission, tribes, fishers and others to improve the system for reporting and removing lost fishing gear from Puget Sound.
- Promoting the restoration of depleted stocks to sustainable levels through the appropriate use of hatchery programs and artificial habitats.
Developed with input from an ad-hoc advisory group, the plan includes suggestions made during an extensive public review process in 2009-10 that included 1,100 public comments received by the department.