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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 13, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Comments sought on proposed hatchery and fishery reform policy

Here is the third press release sent out by state Fish and Wildlife:

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on a proposed policy that would guide modifications to state hatchery operations as well as recreational and commercial fishery management.

The draft hatchery and fishery reform policy is designed to advance WDFW’s ongoing effort to ensure hatchery operations help conserve and recover naturally spawning salmon and steelhead populations while also supporting sustainable fisheries.

Key provisions of the policy include:

Increasing the use of methods that allow commercial and recreational fishers to selectively harvest abundant hatchery fish, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, while releasing wild fish.

Prioritizing improvements to hatchery broodstock management to reduce impacts to wild fish.

Using the principles and standards developed by the Hatchery Scientific Review Group, an independent panel of scientists established by Congress to evaluate salmon and steelhead hatchery operations in Puget Sound, the Washington coast and the Columbia River basin.

The proposed policy is available for review at the state Fish and Wildlife Web site.

Written comments on the draft policy will be accepted through June 1. Comments can be emailed to commission@dfw.wa.gov or mailed to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

In addition, the commission will take public comment on the proposed policy at its June 5-6 meeting in Olympia. The commission will take final action on the policy during its July 10-11 meeting in Olympia.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, received a briefing on the draft policy during its May 8-9 meeting in Olympia.

Also during the May meeting, the commission discussed the search for a permanent director of WDFW. The commission, which has the authority to hire and fire the department’s director, continued to develop a job description for the position.

In December, the commission appointed Phil Anderson to serve as interim director, after accepting the resignation of Jeffrey P. Koenings, who had served as director since 1999. Anderson had been the department’s deputy director for resource policy since July 2007.

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