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NW Fishletter #379, March 5, 2018

[13] Lower Columbia Fishing Policy Under Review

Washington state's policy on commercial and recreational fishing in the lower Columbia River is under review, and could be modified if adjustments are recommended.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is beginning a review of the 2013 policy, which is similar to Oregon's, and which aims to conserve salmon, create new opportunities for recrea-tional fishing and shift commercial gillnet fishing away from the Columbia's main channel. The cur-rent policy also calls for increasing hatchery releases in the lower Columbia, reducing the number of gillnet permits and expanding alternative fishing gear used by commercial fishing outfits.

Bill Tweit, a special assistant for the agency, told NW Fishletter that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission asked staff for an in-depth report on the policy's benefits to recrea-tional fishing, and the health and sustainability of commercial fishing since the new policy was adopted.

Advisory groups for both commercial and recreational fishing will meet March 14, followed by the commission's March 15-17 meeting, to discuss how the existing policy is working, and whether adjustments should be made.

If the agency seeks to revise the policy--last revised in January 2017--the commission would consider those changes later this year, with tentative plans to meet with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in September to conclude the review and decide on revi-sions. -K.C. M.

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