OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to consider restrictions on the use of lead fishing tackle at 13 lakes with nesting loons during a meeting scheduled Dec. 2-4 in Olympia.
In addition, the commission will hold public hearings on changes to Puget Sound crab fishing regulations, management alternatives for bottomfish in Catch Area 4B (western Strait of Juan de Fuca), and several other proposed changes to sportfishing rules in Washington.
The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. in Room 175 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. On Dec. 3-4, the commission will meet in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 and at 8 a.m. on Dec. 4.
On the third day of the three-day meeting, the commission is scheduled to consider restricting the use of certain lead fishing tackle at lakes with nesting loons.
The commission held a public hearing on the issue in October, when it reviewed the findings of a WDFW advisory group established to assess scientific studies on risks posed to loons that ingest lead fishing tackle and recommend ways to minimize those risks.
The 13 lakes where loons breed in Washington include Ferry, Long and Swan lakes in Ferry County; Calligan and Hancock lakes in King County; Bonaparte, Blue and Lost lakes in Okanogan County; Big Meadow, South Skookum and Yocum lakes in Pend Oreille County; Pierre Lake in Stevens County; and Hozomeen Lake in Whatcom County.
Additional information on loons and lead tackle is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/loons/.
Also during the December meeting, the commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed changes to regulations for Puget Sound crab fisheries. Those changes reflect a new policy recently adopted by the commission that expands sportfishing opportunities for Dungeness crab in Puget Sound.
The commission also is scheduled to hold public hearings on:
- Management alternatives for bottomfish in Catch Area 4B (western Strait of Juan de Fuca), which are available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/marinearea4/.
- Proposed changes in state fishing rules on a variety of issues ranging from Columbia River smelt (eulachon) seasons to Free Fishing Weekend. The proposals are available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/.
- Updates to the lower Columbia River white sturgeon management policy.
- Amendments to rules for buying and selling of game.
- Changes to commercial bottomfish, forage fish and shellfish fisheries in Puget Sound designed to protect rockfish populations.
- Amendments to rules governing the removal of minerals, wood and artifacts from WDFW lands.
In other business, the commission is scheduled to take action on two land acquisitions in Okanogan County, and a proposal to simplify the multiple-season permit drawing for big game by conducting a single drawing.
Also during the meeting, the commission is scheduled to hear briefings on several topics, including the recreational albacore tuna fishery, the use of alternative commercial fishing gear on the Columbia River and potential updates to the Columbia River summer chinook salmon management policy.
For a complete agenda, visit the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2010/.