State fishery managers have scheduled a variety of opportunities for the public
to participate in setting salmon fishing seasons for 2019, starting with the
annual statewide salmon forecast meeting Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will present initial forecasts
compiled by state and tribal biologists of the 2019 salmon returns at the
meeting scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Lacey Community Center, 6729
Pacific Ave. S.E., Olympia.
meeting is one of more than a dozen sessions scheduled at various locations
around the state as part of this year's salmon season-setting process. A list
of the scheduled meetings can be found online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
fishery managers rely on input from anglers, commercial fishers, and others
interested in salmon as they work to develop this year's fisheries, said Ron
Warren, head of WDFW's fish program.
important for us to hear what the public has to say about salmon fisheries,”
Warren said. "We're trying to make that easier this year by making video
of some of the major public meetings available online. And we'll again take
public input electronically on our fishery proposals."
at the upcoming meetings, fishery managers will discuss steps to protect
southern resident orcas from disruptions from fishing vessel traffic and ways
to consider the whales' dietary needs in the fishing season-setting process.
declining availability of salmon – southern resident orcas’ primary prey – and
disruptions from boating traffic have been linked to a downturn in the region's
orca population over the past 30 years.
working with the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop tools to assess
the effects of fisheries on available prey for orcas," Warren said.
"These upcoming meetings provide opportunities for the public to
understand the steps we're taking to protect orcas this year."
addition to attending meetings, other ways the public can participate include:
Online comments: Beginning in mid-March, fishery proposals will be posted on
WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/,
where the public can submit comments electronically.
Plenary session: State and tribal co-managers plan to hold an informal
discussion during the public meeting, Wednesday, April 3, in Lynnwood. Details
will be available on the webpage listed above.
Meetings on video: The department intends to provide video of several public
meetings. More information will be available online soon at www.wdfw.wa.gov
annual process of setting salmon fishing seasons is called "North of
Falcon" and is held in conjunction with public meetings conducted by the
Pacific Fishery Management Council. The council is responsible for establishing
fishing seasons in ocean water three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
PFMC is expected to adopt final ocean fishing seasons and harvest levels at its
April 11-15 meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif. The 2019 salmon fisheries package
for Washington's inside waters is also expected to be completed by the state
and tribal co-managers during the PFMC's April meeting.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked
with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems,
while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.