WSR 00-14-036

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE

[ Filed June 30, 2000, 8:49 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 00-02-002.

Title of Rule: Commercial fishing rules.

Purpose: Amend Columbia River smelt season setting.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Sections 7 and 137, chapter 107, Laws of 2000.

Statute Being Implemented: Sections 7 and 137, chapter 107, Laws of 2000.

Summary: Columbia River smelt season to be set by emergency rule.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Columbia River smelt returns have been depressed, and the season has been managed by emergency rule after stock status is ascertained. This conforms the rule to current practice.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Evan Jacoby, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-2930; Implementation: Lew Atkins, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-26561 [902-2651]; and Enforcement: Bruce Bjork, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-2927.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Columbia River smelt stocks have had a low return for several years. The current season does not reflect actual management, as the season has been closed by emergency rule until test fishing shows sufficient fish to open a fishery. Since this is the current management practice, leaving an unrealistic season in the rule defeats the management intent. This change will not affect management, but makes it easier to open the season when justified.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Deletes unrealistic season.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. There is no change in smelt management, and the commercial closures that happened the last several years reflect the actual status of the smelt. This change will neither increase of decrease commercial smelt fishing.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. Not hydraulics rules.

Hearing Location: Best Western Hotel, 15901 West Valley Road, Tukwila, WA, on August 11-12, 2000, at 8:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Debbie Nelson by July 25, 2000, TDD (360) 902-2207, or (360) 902-2226.

Submit Written Comments to: Evan Jacoby, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501, fax (360) 902-2942, by August 10, 2000.

Date of Intended Adoption: August 11, 2000.

June 29, 2000

Evan Jacoby

Rules Coordinator

OTS-4176.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 88-86, filed 9/2/88)

WAC 220-33-040
Smelt.

It is unlawful to fish for smelt in the lower Columbia River for commercial purposes or to possess smelt taken from those waters for commercial purposes, except as provided in this section:


Gear


(1) Otter trawl gear may be used to fish for smelt if:

(a) The head rope of the trawl does not exceed 25 feet in length.

(b) The foot rope or groundline of the trawl does not exceed 25 feet in length.

(c) The dimensions of the trawl's otter doors do not exceed 3 feet by 4 feet.

(d) The bag length of the trawl, as measured from the center of the head rope to the terminal end of the bunt, does not exceed 35 feet.

(e) The bridal rope from the rear of the otter doors to the foot and head ropes does not exceed 8 feet.

(f) Each breast rope does not exceed 5 feet.

(g) The mesh size used in the trawl does not exceed 2 inches stretch measure.

(h) Only one trawl net is fished from the boat at a time.

(2) Gill net gear may be used to fish for smelt if it does not exceed 1,500 feet in length along the cork line and the mesh size of the net does not exceed 2 inches stretch measure. Gill net gear includes trammel nets.

(3) Hand dip net gear may be used to fish for smelt if it does not measure more than 36 inches across the bag frame.


Fishing periods


(4) ((Otter trawl gear may be used to fish for smelt in SMCRA 1A from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Wednesday of each week from March 1 through March 31, and for boats not exceeding 32 feet in length, in SMCRA 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E 7 days per week from December 1 through March 31 of the following year.)) The Columbia River smelt fishery will be opened by emergency rule upon a yearly determination that there are sufficient smelt to achieve escapement.

(5) ((Gill net gear may be used to fish for smelt in SMCRA 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E 7 days per week from December 1 of each year through March 31 of the following year.

(6) Hand dip net gear may be used to fish for smelt in SMCRA 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E and tributaries to these areas 7 days per week from December 1 of each year through March 31 of the following year.

(7))) The following areas of the lower Columbia River remain closed to smelt fishing during the ((open time periods specified in this section)) openings provided for in this section:

(a) Those waters within one mile of a dam or other obstruction.

(b) Those waters of the Cowlitz River upstream from a monument located at Peterson's Eddy, also known as Miller's Eddy.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 75.08.080. 88-18-066 (Order 88-86), 220-33-040, filed 9/2/88.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office