In response to Washington governor Jay Inslee’s stay home order, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has temporarily closed recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide in hopes of limiting the new coronavirus’ spread.
The closure starts Thursday, March 26 and will last at least until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8. WDFW will re-evaluate whether to extend the closure on Monday, April 6, the agency said in a press release.
“This is not a decision we take lightly, but it’s the right thing to do for the health and well-being of Washington’s families,” said WDFW director Kelly Susewind. In the news release, “Monday’s extraordinary order for the residents of our state to stay home requires all of us to work together to ensure these measures have the intended effect.”
WDFW said it has seen increased use at some locations as people look for ways to get outside and anglers have reported crowding at boat ramps and popular fishing spots. Also, the Endangered Species Act monitoring requires interviewing anglers at some sites, and that comes with increased risk of transmitting the new coronavirus.
WDFW had already closed water access sites and wildlife areas it manages. Local and tribal governments are taking similar actions across the state, WDFW’s press release notes. More: wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.