SEATTLE -

A bitter fight over how much fish people eat -- and thus how clean Washington waters should be -- has pitted tribes, commercial fishermen and environmental groups against Boeing, business groups and municipalities.

The state Department of Ecology appears ready to boost the fish consumption rate, an obscure number that has huge ramifications for the state. A higher number means fewer toxic pollutants would be allowed in waters.

The state has been deliberating for months and may not release a draft rule until later this summer.

Businesses and municipalities worry standards will be set so high they can't be achieved, driving business out of the state.

Tribes, environmental groups and others say the rules should protect people, particularly those who eat the most fish.