OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept public comments during a meeting scheduled Dec. 6-7 in Olympia on draft policy options for managing salmon fisheries in Grays Harbor.
Also at the two-day meeting, the public will have an opportunity to comment on proposals that would increase the daily catch limit for walleye on the San Poil River and prohibit the use of internal combustion motors while fishing on a portion of the Naselle River.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. both days.
An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.
Over the past month, state fishery managers have been working with a citizen committee and the public to develop draft options for a new policy to address conservation and catch allocation for Grays Harbor salmon fisheries.
The goal is to develop a policy that helps ensure spawning goals are met for wild salmon returning to the basin and to give anglers and commercial fishers a clearer picture of what fishing opportunities they can expect each year.
During the commission meeting, WDFW staff will provide a briefing on the development of the new draft policy options and additional opportunities later this year for the public to participate in the refinement of the proposed policy.
After receiving the briefing, the commission will then take public comment on the draft policy options, which will be available early next week on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/grays_harbor_salmon/. The website also includes information that was provided during recent public meetings, as well as a scheduled of upcoming meetings.
The commission is scheduled to hold another public hearing on the draft policy options during its January meeting in Olympia. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision at its February meeting in Olympia.
A separate public hearing is also scheduled during the Dec. 6-7 commission meeting on a proposal to increase the daily limit for walleye from eight to 16 fish on the lower San Poil River to decrease the overabundant walleye population and to align regulations with those for Lake Roosevelt.
The commission also will take public comment on a proposal that would prohibit fishing from boats equipped with an internal combustion motor on a stretch of the Naselle River from the Highway 4 Bridge to the Crown Mainline (Salme) Bridge year round in order to reduce user conflicts.
In other business, the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed new rules for commercial dive fisheries and three land transactions, including the purchase of 2,639 acres in Asotin County to protect fish and wildlife habitat.
The commission also is scheduled to receive briefings on the use of descending devices to improve survival of rockfish that are caught and released, the lower Columbia River sturgeon management policy, and updates to Hydraulic Code Rules.