The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will discuss the salmon management policy for Willapa Bay and a number of other issues this weekend.
In a summary of the policy, WDFW states that they have been working on an updated plan since the fall of 2014. The development of the policy was meant to provide regional fishery managers with general guidance and objectives regarding salmon management in the bay.
A Willapa Bay Advisory Group was formed and public input was received during public meetings in the fall of 2014 through the spring of 2015 to develop a new policy. In June of 2015, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (WFWC) adopted Policy C3621. The approved policy consisted of two phases, the first phase covered years 1 through 4 of the policy. Phase two covers year 5 through 21.
The objectives of the policy “is to achieve the conservation and restoration of wild salmon in Willapa Bay and avoid ESA designation of any salmon species. Where consistent with this conservation objective, the policy also seeks to maintain or enhance the economic well-being and stability of the commercial and recreational fishing industry in the state, provide the public with outdoor recreational experiences, and an appropriate distribution of fishing opportunities throughout the Willapa Bay Basin. Enhanced transparency, information sharing, and improved technical rigor of fishery management are needed to restore and maintain public trust and support for management of Willapa Bay salmon fisheries.”
The policy expires in 2023.
Public involvement in the review will consist of public meetings and Willapa Bay Salmon Advisory Group meetings scheduled for October, 2018 through February, 2019. This process will culminate in a final presentation to the WFWC including a detailed report which will provide answers to specific questions regarding the implementation and performance of Policy C-3621. These questions will be developed with commissioner, advisory and public involvement.
In addition to the local issue, the commission will be looking at the management of Columbia River fisheries, including a one-day information-sharing workshop with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Commissioners will hold a public workshop Thursday, Nov. 1, with members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to review a 5-year-old policy that significantly changed salmon fisheries on the Columbia River.
Commissioners from both states will also receive an update on seal and sea lion predation of salmon and other fish in the Columbia River, as well as efforts to recover southern resident killer whales.
On Friday, the Washington commission will also discuss and take public input on the North of Falcon salmon-setting policy for January 2019 through December 2020.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene in the Howard Marshall Room at the Heathman Lodge, 7801 NE Greenwood Dr., Vancouver. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 1 and at 9 a.m. both Nov. 2 and 3.
A detailed agenda is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.