WA seeks public comment on proposed rules for 2023-24 salmon fishing seasons

The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, or WDFW, is seeking to reel in public comment on proposed rules for the 2023-24 commercial and recreational salmon fishing seasons.

The proposed rules were created as part of the annual “North of Falcon” salmon-setting process. Every year, state, federal and tribal fishery managers gather to set salmon seasons in the Evergreen State in an undertaking that is named after Cape Falcon in Oregon, which marks the southernmost border of Washington’s salmon management.

“We carefully considered all of the input we received through public meetings and our webpage as we developed these seasons,” Kyle Adicks, WDFW’s intergovernmental salmon manager, said in Friday news release. “This formal comment period gives an additional opportunity for interested public to provide input on the proposed rules.”

The proposed rules can be viewed at WDFW’s rule-making webpage. People can comment via the embedded web form, email or phone. Comments will be accepted through June 8.

On that same day, WDFW will also take comment during a 2 p.m. virtual public hearing. An online Zoom registration form has been set up for those wishing to attend.

Salmon have long been associated with Washington.

According to the 2022 State of Salmon in Watersheds report – the governor’s biennial account on salmon, their habitat, and the progress of statewide salmon recovery efforts – domestic commercial fisheries create nearly 23,000 jobs in Washington, with the salmon harvest alone worth almost $14 million a year.

Recreational fishing, the report states, generates more than $1.5 billion in economic activity annually, with salmon being highly prized by Washington anglers.

The iconic fish is also central to the cultures, identities and businesses of many of Washington’s Native American tribes.

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