Certain hunting contests are banned for 2020 following the recent Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.
According to a release, the commission approved changes to rules governing hunting contests in the state by a 7-2 vote, adopting two proposed rule changes governing hunting contests.
The first rule change excludes species that don’t currently have bag limits – such as coyotes – from being eligible for hunting contests.
The second makes it illegal to participate in a hunting contest not permitted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Also at the meeting, the Commission voted to adopt amendments to the Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy which guides salmon fishery management in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Among some of the changes to fisheries under the revised policy:
The policy was first adopted in 2013, and an extensive review of the policy began in 2018 and provides guidance for impacts to threatened or endangered fish populations, including objectives under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The updated policy language can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-09/columbia-river-policy-c3620-091120-revision.pdf.
A more detailed comparison of key fishery differences between the policies can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-09/columbia-river-policy-comparison-091120.pdf.
In addition to these changes, the revised policy also provides greater flexibility for managers to consider an array of commercial fishing gear types — such as large-mesh gillnets and alternative gears like seines, pound nets, and tangle nets — for potential use in the various seasons and areas of the river, with instructions to achieve concurrent regulations with Oregon and using the most selective gear available.
Columbia River fishing seasons are currently set through the end of 2020, and the new policy language will take effect beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
With the revised policy as a guiding document, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will move quickly to begin conversations with Oregon’s commission about working toward development of concurrent regulations for 2021 and beyond.