The state will release its preseason salmon run forecasts and outline proposed fishing seasons at a meeting set for March 2 in Olympia.
The meeting is the first in a series that are part of the North of Falcon process during which state, federal and tribal representatives hammer out recreational and commercial fishing seasons for the coming year.
The final decision on seasons will be made April 10-15 at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland.
The council establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast. The state and treaty tribes reach agreements on fishing seasons for Puget Sound and the salmon streams of Western Washington.
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People attending the March 2 meeting will have an opportunity to talk to fishery managers about the forecasts and take part in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues.
While anglers will have a range of fishing opportunities in the coming year, restrictions will be needed to protect wild salmon stocks, including those listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“Our first priority is protecting and recovering wild salmon,” said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “That can be accomplished while still providing significant fishing opportunities on abundant hatchery fish and healthy wild populations.”
The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the General Administration Building Auditorium at 11th Avenue and Columbia Street in Olympia.
More information about the North of Falcon process is available on the department’s Web site at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/ northfalcon. The Web site will be updated periodically throughout the salmon season-setting process, including the release of the preseason forecasts.
To get involved
Other key meetings related to the North of Falcon process, all open to the public:
March 6-12: Pacific Fishery Management Council, Sacramento
March 11: Coastal fisheries discussion, 6-8 p.m., Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano
March 15: Columbia River fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., YMCA Community Room, 3609 Main Street, Vancouver, Wash.
March 16: First North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 210 11th Ave. S.W., Olympia
March 24: Coastal fisheries discussion, 6-8 p.m., Raymond Elks Lodge, 326 Third St., Raymond.
March 25: Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion, 6-8 p.m., WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek
March 30: Final Grays Harbor/Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 172, Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.
April 6: North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood
April 10-15: Final Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, Portland