Commission hears update on rockfish

Fish and wildlife A number of fishing issues, including the Puget Sound rockfish conservation plan, are on the agenda when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Friday and Saturday.

Research scientists Dayv Lowry and Dr. Theresa Tsou will provide the commission members with an evaluation of the implementation status for the rockfish conservation plan. The discussion is scheduled to begin about 2:50 p.m. Friday.

The plan, approved in March 2011, established policies, strategies and actions designed to help restore and maintain rockfish populations in the Sound.

Puget Sound Smelt: The commission is expected to choose from three options for recreational and commercial smelt fishing regulations in Puget Sound. Craig Burley, manager of the Fish Management Division, and Lowry will discuss the proposals, starting about 2 p.m. Friday.

Smelt are a crucial food source for many Puget Sound species. While smelt population abundance estimates are not available, catch rates indicate relatively high harvest over the last several years. That has prompted the agency to consider steps to increase smelt protection.

The commission will consider these options. One would be no changes in the current rules. Another would reduce commercial and recreational use. The third would close all commercial fishing in the Sound, and reduce recreational smelt fishing.

Land presentation: The commission will be briefed on the planned acquisition of 2,900 acres in the Cowiche watershed in Yakima County. Scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.

Strategic priorities: Director Phil Anderson and the commission members will talk about the department’s strategic priorities for 2015. This is scheduled to begin about 9 a.m. Saturday.

When: The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Where: Natural Resources Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia.

Agenda: See the complete agenda at wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2014/06/agenda_jun1314.html.