THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
State fishery managers invite the public to participate in meetings and conference calls of the Puget Sound Sportfishing Advisory Group regarding the establishment of Washington’s 2018-19 salmon fishing seasons.
The group advises the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on proposed regulations and seasons for Puget Sound marine and freshwater recreational fishing, primarily salmon fishing. The 13 members represent the recreational community within Puget Sound.
The advisory group will hold a conference call at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 8. The public can listen to the work session, but there will not be an opportunity for public comment.
Details about how to join the call can be found on the advisory group’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/pssfag/, where meeting announcements, agenda items, and a list of the advisors are also available. Anyone wishing to receive e-mail notifications of upcoming calls or meetings will be able to sign up for emails through the advisory group site in the near future.
Each year state, federal and tribal fishery managers gather to plan the Northwest’s recreational and commercial salmon fisheries. This pre-season planning process is generally known as the “North of Falcon” process, which involves a series of public meetings involving federal, state, tribal and industry representatives and other concerned citizens. A public meeting schedule is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
During Thursday’s call, Puget Sound sportfishing advisors and state fishery managers plan to discuss potential changes to current salmon fisheries as well as possible fishery proposals for 2018-19.
“As we get closer to finalizing salmon seasons in mid-April, we’ll schedule more conference calls and meetings,” said Mark Baltzell, Puget Sound salmon manager. “We encourage the public to listen in on the calls and reach out to advisors with questions and concerns.”
On Thursday’s call, state salmon managers will provide updates about NOAA Fisheries’ guidance on 2018-19 conservation objectives for managing Puget Sound chinook. These objectives will influence salmon fishing seasons this year.
A 10-year management plan for harvesting Puget Sound chinook salmon, initially submitted to NOAA Fisheries last fall, is being revised and likely will be resubmitted in late summer, Baltzell said. State fishery managers will provide updates on the plan to advisors in future conference calls.
More information on the plan can be found on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/chinook/, where WDFW will also post NOAA’s guidance for this year’s fisheries.