OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently took action to require monthly fishing guide logbook reporting, and approved moving forward on a request to the State Legislature to increase Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife funding.
New members Molly Linville and James R. Anderson joined five other commission members to approve the department’s request to seek $24.5 million in increased operating funds, plus $26 million in capital funds, during the 2020 state legislative supplemental session.
The bulk of the funding request, $11.4 million, would help the agency to address a deficit driven by legislated and unavoidable cost increases, such as the rising costs of wages and centralized state services, the commission said.
The department will also seek $6.6 million to continue services at current levels. Without the money, the commission said it’s looking at cutbacks, including in fish production at eight salmon and trout hatcheries, fewer hunting opportunities, and cuts in access to salmon and steelhead fishing on portions of the Columbia River and its tributaries.
The commission’s request for $6.5 million will be used, in part, to continue removing sea lions feeding on Columbia River salmon, meeting existing Columbia River commitments for commercial fishing and salmon recovery objectives, and minimizing humpback whale entanglement with commercial crab pots.
The commission will consider a proposal to modify the department’s enforcement civil authority during its Aug. 23 meeting.
The commission also adopted rules that will require fishing guides to report their fishing activities on a monthly basis beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Fishing guides will provide WDFW with information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers onboard, and the number and type of fish species caught per trip. This information will help WDFW understand the role the guide industry plays not only in terms of helping recreational anglers to access fisheries, but also in providing economic benefits to local and state economies.
A full broadcast of the meeting is available to the public at www.tvw.org.