WSR 10-13-085

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed June 15, 2010, 3:49 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Commercial fishing rules in Puget Sound, including chapter 220-48 WAC, Puget Sound -- Fish other than salmon; chapter 220-49 WAC, Puget Sound commercial forage fish; and WAC 220-52-051, Shrimp fishery -- Puget Sound.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 77.04.012, 77.12.045, and 77.12.047.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Rule changes are needed to provide increased conservation of rockfish in Puget Sound. The department will complete a Puget Sound rockfish conservation plan this summer, and it needs rule changes to implement the plan. In April 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) declared that three species of rockfish warrant protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This requires Washington department of fish and wildlife (WDFW) to review and possibly change commercial fishing regulations in Puget Sound. The intent of these proposed rule changes is to rebuild populations of rockfish in Puget Sound.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The NMFS applies the provisions of the ESA to listed rockfish species. State and federal agencies are developing conservation plans to recover rockfish. NMFS will develop standards for allowable take of listed rockfish by commercial fisheries. WDFW is preparing an application for an incidental take permit that includes a "fisheries conservation plan." NMFS will use the application and plan to evaluate the risk posed by commercial fishing to the listed rockfish. Regulation changes will be required to implement the provisions of the incidental take permit.

Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Lori Preuss, WDFW Enforcement, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, phone (360) 902-2930, fax (360) 902-2155, e-mail Lori.Preuss@dfw.wa.gov. Contact by August 2, 2010. Expected proposal filing date is August 18, 2010.

June 15, 2010

Lori Preuss

Rules Coordinator

Washington State Code Reviser's Office