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Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 12, 2014 at 8:08 AM

State Fish and Wildlife Commission to look at changes for Puget Sound smelt fishing

2022593599Changes could come for sport and commercial smelt fishing n Puget Sound when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meets this Friday.

The meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia.

Population abundance estimates are not available for smelt, but according to a news release by state Fish and Wildlife a Puget Sound-wide commercial catch and catch rates indicate relatively high harvest over the last several years, prompting state fisheries to consider taking steps to increase protection for smelt.

The options in the news release include:

No change: Under current state rules, commercial fishing for smelt in Puget Sound is open from 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Friday during seasonal openings. Recreational smelt fishing is open year-round, except in Hood Canal where it is closed. The use of dip nets is allowed from 8 a.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Wednesday. Jig gear can be used seven days per week.

Reduce both commercial and recreational use: Commercial smelt fishing would be closed Sundays and would be allowed only from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday during seasonal openings in each area. Inactive commercial smelt fisheries, including dip bag and purse seine, which have not been in use for at least 10 years, would be closed.

Recreational smelt fishing would be closed overnight except for the use of jig gear, which could be used seven days per week, 24 hours per day. Dip nets would be allowed for recreational use from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.

Close commercial fishing, reduce recreational use: All commercial fishing for smelt in Puget Sound would be closed. Recreational smelt fishing would be closed overnight except for the use of jig gear, which could be used seven days per week, 24 hours per day. Dip nets would be allowed for recreational use from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.

Here is a link for the meeting’s agenda:  http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

 

 

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