PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
FISH AND WILDLIFE
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Marking requirements for commercial fishing nets, reporting requirements for lost or abandoned commercial nets, and penalties for failing to report lost or abandoned nets.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 77.12.047, 77.12.870, and 77.15.520.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The Northwest Straits Initiative (NWSI) has removed three thousand eight hundred twenty-nine derelict fishing nets and two thousand forty-five derelict crab pots since it began operations in 2002. More than 2.4 million animals were estimated to be entangled by the gear every year, including mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Removing the gear restored five hundred twenty-five acres of marine habitat. NWSI estimates total gillnet loss since the 1970s to be approximately five thousand six hundred nets. Changing commercial net-marking requirements, requiring commercial fishermen to report lost and abandoned nets, and penalizing a failure to report will allow the department to identify the quantity and location of lost commercial net gear. This will assist derelict gear removal efforts, which in turn will reduce the number of animals lost to derelict gear and will help preserve marine habitat.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: NWSI and the Washington department of natural resources.
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 Program, 600 Capitol Way, North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091, phone (360) 902-2930, fax (360) 902-2155, or e-mail Lori.firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact by September 10, 2011. Expected proposal filing on or after September 21, 2011.
August 1, 2011