OLYMPIA: Salmon forecasts to be unveiled at March 3 meeting

Staff reportFebruary 16, 2014 

Public participation in the process for setting salmon fishing seasons will kick off March 3 when salmon run forecasts are released. The final decisions are scheduled to be made at meetings April 5-10.

The March meeting is the traditional start of the North of Falcon process during which state, federal and tribal fishery managers hammer out the fishing seasons for the coming year.

During the morning session, staff from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will reveal salmon forecasts for the Puget Sound region, coastal Washington and the Columbia River. There also will be discussion of fishery management objectives and preliminary fishing opportunities for 2014-15.

The forecast meeting, set to take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., will be held in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia.

A look at other key meetings:

March 8-13: The Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Sacramento, Calif. The council will adopt three options for ocean fishing, including catch quotas for sport and commercial fisheries.

March 14: Grays Harbor Salmon Advisory Group meeting, 6-9 p.m. WDFW Montesano office, 48 Devonshire Road. Public discussion of Grays Harbor salmon forecasts and fishing opportunities.

March 17: Columbia River fisheries discussion, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, Wash. There will be a discussion of the management objectives and preliminary options for Columbia River fall commercial and sport fisheries.

March 19: North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Room 172, Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia. This is a further discussion of management objectives and preliminary fishery proposals for Puget Sound, the coast and Columbia River area sport and commercial fisheries.

There will be another Grays Harbor fisheries meeting from 6-8 p.m. at Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano.

March 20: Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion, 6-8 p.m., Trinity Methodist Church, 100 South Blake Ave., Sequim.

March 21: Willapa Bay Salmon Advisory Group meeting, 6-9 p.m. WDFW Montesano office. There will be a discussion of Willapa Bay salmon forecasts and fishing opportunities.

March 24: Public hearing on ocean salmon management options, 7 p.m., Chateau Westport, 710 W. Hancock, Westport. The public can comment on the ocean options adopted by the council.

March 25: Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 6-8 p.m. Raymond Elks Lodge, 326 Third St., Raymond.

March 27: Pre-season Columbia Basin salmon forecasts and fishery outlook, 6-8 p.m., Benton PUD, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick.

April 1: North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood. At this meeting, the results of state-tribal negotiations and analyses of preliminary fishery proposals will be released. Also, preferred options are developed for Puget Sound and Columbia River area sport and commercial fisheries.

April 3: North of Falcon meeting for Columbia River and ocean discussion, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Natural Resources Building.

April 4: Final Grays Harbor/Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Room 172, Natural Resources Building.

April 5-10: Final Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth Street, Vancouver, Wash. The council will adopt final ocean fisheries seasons. State-tribal fishing plans are finalized for all inside area commercial and sport salmon fisheries. Last year, negotiations for the Puyallup and Skokomish rivers were not completed by this meeting.

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