FISH AND WILDLIFE
[Order 20-17—Filed January 29, 2020, 4:25 p.m., effective February 3, 2020]
Effective Date of Rule: February 3, 2020.
Purpose: This emergency rule will allow nontreaty commercial fishing opportunities in the Columbia River while protecting fish listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This rule implements federal court orders governing Washington's relationship with treaty Indian tribes, federal law governing Washington's relationship with Oregon, and Washington fish and wildlife commission policy guidance for Columbia River fisheries.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 220-358-06000B; and amending WAC 220-358-060.
Other Authority: United States v. Oregon, Civil No. 68-513-KI (D. Or.), Order Adopting 2018-2027 United States v. Oregon Management Agreement (February 26, 2018) (Doc. No. 2607-1). Northwest Gillnetters Ass'n v. Sandison, 95 Wn.2d 638, 628 P.2d 800 (1981); Washington fish and wildlife commission policies concerning Columbia River fisheries; 40 Stat. 515 (Columbia River Compact).
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: This rule sets a limited Columbia River commercial fishery for eulachon smelt. The regulation is consistent with a conservative research-level fishery, reduced from the level-one fishery as described in the "Washington and Oregon Eulachon Management Plan" for the Columbia River. The expected return of eulachon to the Columbia River in 2020 is expected to be similar in magnitude to the run in 2019. The fishery serves as an important test fishery to monitor run strength and timing and to collect biological data. NOAA Fisheries concurs that a limited fishery is consistent with recovery of eulachon smelt. Rule is consistent with Columbia River Compact action of January 28, 2020. There is insufficient time to adopt permanent regulations.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 1; Federal Rules or Standards: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 1; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 1.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 1.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: January 29, 2020.
WAC 220-358-06000BCommercial fisheries—Columbia River below Bonneville Dam—Smelt.
Notwithstanding the provisions of WAC 220-358-060, the Columbia River and Washington tributaries are closed to fishing for eulachon smelt except as provided below:
Open Dates: February 3 through February 27, 2020, open Mondays and Thursdays only, 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (12-hour periods).
Open Area: Columbia River – SMCRA 1A, 1B, 1C.
Gear: It is unlawful to use anything other than gillnets. Gillnets must meet the following specifications per WAC 220-358-060: Mesh size not to exceed 2 inches stretch measure; not to exceed 1,500 feet in length along the cork line. Use of monofilament nets is permissible.
Allowable sales: Smelt.
Other: 24-hour quick-reporting is required for Washington wholesale dealers, as provided in WAC 220-352-180.
Multi-Net Rule: Nets not specifically authorized for use in this fishery may be onboard the vessel if properly stored. A properly stored net is defined as a net on a drum that is fully covered by a tarp (canvas or plastic) and bound with a minimum of ten revolutions of rope with a diameter of 3/8 (0.375) inches or greater.
The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed effective February 28, 2020:
Commercial fisheries—Columbia River below Bonneville Dam—Smelt.