Commission approves interim guidance for the 2021 Willapa Bay salmon season

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved staff recommendations for interim guidance for the 2021 salmon season in Willapa Bay during its March 12 virtual meeting.

Staff recommendations for Willapa Bay hatcheries included releasing hatchery fish at their facility of origin to preserve options for long-term policy modifications. Staff recommendations for fisheries management included actively managing Chinook harvest to not exceed a 20 percent impact on the total adult return of wild Chinook returning to the Naselle and Willapa rivers, suspending time and area restrictions for commercial fisheries south of Marine Area 2T (northern Willapa Bay), determining season length to achieve recreational priority for Chinook harvest, and continuing to develop and implement test fisheries and in-season update models.

This follows Commission discussions and public input in February, when Commission members heard an update on annual review of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy implementation and performance. In January, the Commission heard public input and discussed the proposed timeline and public process for policy revisions to the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy (C-3622) Comprehensive Review, which it approved during its December 2020 meeting.  

The meeting was recorded and will available to the public on WDFW’s website. The public can also find information on upcoming meetings at the same webpage.

WDFW fishery managers will be further discussing and seeking input on Willapa Bay salmon seasons as part of this year’s process to set salmon seasons, commonly referred to as North of Falcon. For upcoming virtual public meetings and other ways to provide feedback throughout this process, visit WDFW’s North of Falcon public meeting schedule web page.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.