OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission announced topics it is expected to tackle during its virtual commission meeting scheduled this week. Topics will include updates on spring bear hunts, drafting rules for commercial viewing of killer whales, and discussion of Willapa Bay and hatchery reform policies.
On Thursday, the commission will kick off its meetings with updates on spring bear hunts, grazing policy and fire response on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lands.
Most notably for Twin Harbors residents will be the commission's discussion of Willapa Bay and hatchery reform policies, which is also scheduled to begin on Thursday.
The WDFW Hatchery and reform policy C-3619 was originally adopted in Nov. 2009 "to advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead by promoting and guiding the implementation of hatchery reform." The commission directed WDFW to review and update its policy in June 2018.
The commission released a draft of its policy for public review on Aug. 1 and approved the revisions contained within that draft on Nov. 6.
An updated draft of C-3619 can be viewed online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-11/fish_committee_recommendation_110220_0.pdf.
The WDFW Hatchery and fishery reform policy review can be viewed online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/hatcheries/hatchery-reform-policy-review.
Willapa Bay adopted a salmon management plan in June 2015 with the purpose to "achieve the conservation and restoration of wild salmon in Willapa Bay and avoid (Endangered Species Act) designation of any salmon species."
The text of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management policy can be viewed online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/policies/willapa-bay-salmon-management. In August, the department held a virtual session to outline the policy and take questions from the public. That presentation can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ3Yp-IPPBM&feature=youtu.be.
The commission plans to discuss several other topics on Friday, including updates from WDFW personnel on proposed spring black bear hunting season rules, the development of draft rules for a new commercial Southern Resident killer whale watching licensing program and regulations, sustainable Washington seafood outreach, statewide pinniped conservation and management efforts, and the proposed nonlethal pursuit training program.
On Saturday, interested parties will get their opportunity to weigh in on the discussion as the commission will hear updates and take public comment on the review of its Willapa Bay and hatchery reform policies.
The commission will also take open public comments on Friday and Saturday mornings.
The meeting is available to the public via webinar and it will be recorded and posted online for future reference.
For more information about watching the sessions and to view the agenda, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
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