Washington state bans recreational fishing amid coronavirus

Washington state residents that were hoping that fishing would qualify for a recreation that they can still participate in during these tough times are out of luck.

Fox News reports residents of Washington state won’t even be able to practice social “fishtancing” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

This week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) issued a temporary order to close all recreational fishing and shellfishing in the entire state in order to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The news came shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which required Washington residents to stay home unless out for an “essential activity.”

“We’ve seen an uptick in outdoor recreation at some locations in recent weeks as people have looked for ways to get outside,” WDFW Fish Program director Kelly Cunningham said in a news release issued Wednesday. “We’ve had reports of crowded boat ramps and busy fishing on some rivers, which runs counter to the governor’s direction to stay home and practice social distancing.”

WDFW’s ban went into effect at midnight on March 25. As part of the restrictions, fishing and shellfishing seasons will be closed for at least two weeks. Access to wildlife areas and water access areas will also be restricted for that same time period.

Similarly, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has temporarily closed all state-managed wildlife areas or water access points for two weeks.

Hunting seasons, meanwhile, are currently “not impacted” by any restrictions, WDFW confirmed.