COMMISSION UPDATE

COMMISSION UPDATE

Hi all,

 

Forgive the formatting but cut & paste can and is a bear at times! So a quick update. The Commission policy below has some Grays Harbor & Willapa changes in red as the strike does not carry in a C&P. The new Director is currently the Idaho F&H Deputy Director and more to come on that I am sure. The draft Willapa policy will be released soon. Now this is for review and the final will be next month for public comment as it goes on the state register.

 

Dave

 

 

North  of Falcon Policy

 

This Policy will guide Department staff in considering conservation, allocation, in-season management, and monitoring issues associated with the annual salmon fishery planning process known as "North of Falcon." When considering management issues, Department staff will ensure that decisions are made consistent with: the Department's  statutory  authority; U.S.  v. Washington; U.S.  v. Oregon; the  Endangered Species Act; the Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan; the Pacific Salmon Treaty; the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Framework Salmon Management Plan; pertinent state/tribal  agreements;  and the applicable  Fish and Wildlife  Commission  policies.

 

The Department will implement this Policy consistent with the purposes and intended outcomes described  in the 21st Century  Salmon  and  Steelhead  Planning Project including:

 

      Salmon and steelhead will be managed to recover and assure sustainability in a way that is science-based, well-documented, transparent, well-communicated, and accountable.

 

      Fisheries will be managed to meet or exceed ESA, recovery, and conservation goals; and harvest management measures will protect and promote the long-term well-being of the commercial and recreational fisheries.

 

Fishery  Management

 

General

 

      On a statewide basis, fishing opportunities will be provided when they can be directed at healthy wild and hatchery stocks.

      Selective fishing methods and gears that maximize fishing opportunity and minimize impacts on depressed stocks will be utilized to the fullest extent possible taking into consideration legal constraints  on implementation and budgetary  limits associated  with required  sampling, monitoring and enforcement programs.

      When assessed from a statewide perspective, fishing directed at chinook, coho, pink, sockeye, or chum salmon will not be exclusively reserved for either sport or commercial users.

      When managing sport fisheries, meaningful recreational fishing opportunities will be distributed equitably across fishing areas and reflect the diverse interests of fishers, including retention and catch and release fisheries.

      The Department will seek non-treaty fishing access to unutilized portions of treaty harvest allocations through the implementation of pre-season agreements, taking into consideration changes in abundance, fishery conflicts, and factors that may influence attainment of spawning escapement objectives.

       

      Sockeye,  Chum. and Pink Salmon

 

      For fisheries directed at Fraser River-origin chum, pink, and sockeye stocks, the majority of harvest will be provided to the commercial fisheries.

      For fisheries directed at harvestable Puget Sound-origin chum stocks, the majority  of harvest will be provided to the commercial fisheries.

      For fisheries directed at Lake Washington sockeye, the first 200,000 non-treaty harvest will be provided to recreational fishers. If the allowable non-treaty harvest is greater than 200,000, commercial harvest directed at this stock may be considered.

     For fisheries directed at harvestable Puget Sound origin pink salmon, seasons will be established that provide meaningful opportunities for both recreational and commercial fisheries while minimizing gear and other fishery conflicts.

 

Chinook  and Coho Salmon

 

     The Puget Sound harvest management objectives for chinook and coho stocks, in priority order, are to: (1) provide meaningful recreational fishing opportunities; and (2) identify and provide opportunities for commercial harvest. When managing sport fisheries in this region, recreational opportunities will be distributed equitably across fishing areas, considering factors such as: the uniqueness of each area; the availability of opportunities for various species in each area throughout the season; the desire to provide high levels of total recreational opportunity; and the biological impacts.

      Grays Harbo r will be m anaged co nsistent with the Comm ission’s Grays Harbo r Po licy (POL C -3621).Grays                                                                                                              Harbor harvest management objectives shall include opportunities for both the

               recreational  and commercial  fisheries.

      The Fish and Wildlife Commission's policy on Columbia River Salmon Management (POL C3620) shall guide pre-season and in-season planning of Columbia River salmon fisheries. Columbia River harvest management regimes shall be developed in cooperation with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives.

·         Willapa Bay w ill be m anaged co nsistent with the Co mm issio n’s Willapa Bay Po licy (P OL C -XXXX). Willapa Bay harvest management shall be consistent with Willapa Bay Framework                                                                                                  management objectives. The following general intent shall apply: Willapa Bay harvest                 management objectives shall include meaningful opportunities for both recreational and                                                                                                   commercial fisheries.

      Pacific Ocean harvest shall be managed consistent with the Pacific  Fishery  Management Council's Framework Salmon Management Plan and the National Standards that provide for fair and equitable allocation of fishing privileges among various fishers.

 

In-Season  Management

 

      When in-season management actions are taken, they will be implemented in a manner that is consistent with pre-season conservation and harvest management objectives, and the fishery intent developed through the North of Falcon process.

 

Monitoring, Sampling and Enforcement

 

      Monitoring, sampling and enforcement programs will be provided to account for species and population impacts of all fisheries and to ensure compliance with state regulations.

      Fishery participants will be required to comply with fishery monitoring and evaluation programs designed to account for species and population impacts.


Gear  and Fishery Conflicts

 

    • Recreational and commercial fisheries shall be structured to minimize gear and other fishery conflicts. Unanticipated fishery interaction issues identified in-season, including conflicts with

fisheries directed at other species, shall be resolved by involving the appropriate sport and commercial representatives  in a dispute  resolution  process  managed  by Department staff.

 

Incidental  Mortalities

 

    • The Department will manage fisheries to minimize mortalities on non-target species (e.g. rockfish, sea birds, etc.). Management regimes will include strategies to limit seabird mortalities consistent with the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 

Communications

 

    • The Department shall strive to make ongoing improvements for effective public involvement during the North of Falcon planning process and annual salmon fishery implementation, incorporating the following intents:

 

      • North of Falcon participants will be included as observers during appropriate state/tribal discussions of fishery issues.

      • all decisions made during the North of Falcon process will be recorded in writing.

      • variety of tools will be used to effectively communicate with the public, to receive input on pre-season planning or in-season fishery issues, and to make available the record of decisions. Such tools will include: recreational and commercial advisory groups; public workshops to address key issues; the WDFW North of Falcon Web site; and in-season tele-conferences.

o   The Department will make a concerted effort to consult with stakeholders prior to making               major decisions with the tribes.

 

Other Species

 

  •               The Fish and Wildlife Commission's policy on Lower Columbia Sturgeon Management (POL• C3001) shall guide pre-season and in-season planning of Columbia River and coastal sturgeon fisheries and related incidental impacts. Management of Willapa Bay sturgeon  fisheries will be further guided by Willapa Bay Framework management objectives.

 

Delegation  of Authority

  • The Fish and Wildlife Commission delegates the authority to the Director to make harvest agreements

with Northwest treaty tribes and other governmental agencies, and adopt permanent and emergency regulations resulting from  the agreements  made  during  the annual  North of Falcon  process.

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