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Commission To Consider Waterfowl Seasons, Protections For Octopuses

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting 2013-14 hunting seasons for migratory waterfowl and additional protective measures for giant Pacific octopuses in Puget Sound during a public meeting Aug. 2-3 in Olympia.

A public hearing is also scheduled to discuss several proposals to amend state wildlife interaction rules to incorporate measures from Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and implement 2013 legislation.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 2 and 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3.

An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/ .

State waterfowl seasons proposed by WDFW are similar to those adopted last year. The general duck season would be open for 107 days - from Oct. 12-16 and from Oct. 19-Jan. 26. A special youth hunting weekend is also proposed for Sept. 21-22.

As in previous years, goose hunting seasons will vary by management areas across the state, but most would open in mid-October and run through late January.

In other action, the commission will consider several options for providing additional protection for Puget Sound’s Pacific octopus population. The options, available on WDFW’s website at http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/octopus/ , were developed by WDFW in consultation with a 12-member citizen advisory group.

Under current rules, a person with a valid state fishing license can harvest one giant Pacific octopus per day in most areas of Puget Sound. Options under consideration by the commission range from no change in current rules to a ban on harvesting octopuses anywhere in Puget Sound.

The commission called for a review of those rules after the legal harvest of a giant Pacific octopus near Alki Point in Seattle sparked a public outcry last October.

In other business, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comment on proposed amendments to wildlife interaction rules. The amendments are available on WDFW’s website at http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/development.html .

Those amendments include a proposal that would make permanent an emergency rule that permits ranchers, farmers, and other pet and livestock owners in the eastern third of the state to kill a wolf that is attacking their animals.

Also during the August meeting, the commission will consider several land transactions and receive briefings on a variety of topics including the status of Washington’s sockeye salmon populations, WDFW’s legislative proposals for 2014 and the department’s 2013-15 capital budget.


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