OLYMPIA Anglers, commercial fishers and others interested in Washington state salmon fisheries can get a preview of this years salmon returns and proposed fishing seasons during an Olympia public meeting March 1.
Kicking off the annual salmon season-setting process, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts compiled by state and tribal biologists of 2011 salmon returns.
The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the General Administration Building Auditorium at 11th Avenue and Columbia Street on the Capitol Campus.
Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to talk to fishery managers about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in the region.
Public input is an important part of the season-setting process, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW. We encourage anyone who has an interest in salmon populations and recreational and commercial salmon fisheries to get involved in these discussions and take part in the development of upcoming fishing seasons.
WDFW has also scheduled additional public meetings focusing on regional salmon issues through early April. A meeting schedule and more information about the salmon season-setting process is available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
Public review of the pre-season forecasts traditionally marks the start of the North of Falcon process, which brings state, tribal and federal fishery managers together to establish salmon seasons for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and the Washington coast.
The North of Falcon process is held in conjunction with public meetings conducted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
Final adoption of the 2011 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 14 at the PFMC meeting in San Mateo, Calif.