State seeks input on Puget Sound, coastal fishing rules

A rockfish caught near Everett.
A rockfish caught near Everett. AP file, 1998

State fishery managers are holding three public meetings Aug. 29-31 to hear public comments on 2017 sportfishing rules for Puget Sound and the Washington coast.

Comments can also be made online at wdfw.wa.gov through Oct. 28. After receiving 66 proposals, 11 have been advanced for additional review.

State officials are seeking input on proposals that would:

  • Require fishing vessels to carry a descending device when fishing for bottom fish or halibut in areas east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. The devices are used to return rockfish to deep water, reducing the number of rockfish deaths due to barotrauma, which occurs when rockfish are brought to the surface quickly.
  • Make it unlawful to possess another person’s shellfish or food fish (including halibut, salmon and sturgeon) without written permission while in the field or in transit.
  • Implement a 4½-inch minimum size requirement for Tanner crabs harvested in Puget Sound.
  • Prohibit shellfish harvesters from cooking oysters in the shell or using heat to open oysters on the beach.
  • Allow squid harvest year-round and the harvest of Humboldt squid in Hood Canal.

The Olympia meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 31 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE. The other meetings are scheduled for the same times on Aug. 29 in Mill Creek (WDFW Region 4 headquarters, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd.) and Aug. 30 in Port Townsend (Marina Room of the Point Hudson Marina, 130 Hudson St.).