Public input sought on proposals for Washington's ocean salmon fisheries

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WA Department of Fish & Wildlife

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
3-9-2020
Website

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - Fishery managers have developed options for Washington's ocean salmon fisheries that reflect low numbers of coho salmon predicted to return this year.

The three options for ocean salmon fisheries were approved Monday for public review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which brings tribal, federal, and state entities together to establish fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

The three alternatives are designed to allow comparison of options for management this year, said Kyle Adicks, salmon fisheries policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). These ocean options will help inform other Washington salmon fisheries as the season-setting process continues.

"With these alternatives in hand, we will work with stakeholders and co-managers to develop a final fishing package for Washington's coastal and inside waters that meets our conservation objectives for wild salmon," Adicks said.

The number of coho expected to return to the Columbia River this year is the lowest in more than 20 years. The small coho quotas in the first two alternatives, and the closure to fishing in the third, are a result of those low expected abundances of coho.

The options include the following quotas for state recreational fisheries off the Washington coast:

Option 1: 30,000 Chinook and 29,400 marked coho. This option includes an early season Chinook fishery from June 14 through June 28 in all ocean areas, followed by a Chinook and marked coho fishery from June 29 through Sept. 30.

Option 2: 22,125 Chinook and 22,500 marked coho. This option opens Chinook and coho fishing in all ocean areas from June 27 through Sept. 13.

Option 3: All ocean areas closed to salmon fishing.

Fisheries may close earlier in each area if quotas are met. For more details about the options, visit PFMC's webpage at https://www.pcouncil.org, where information can be found on the three alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries. There will be a public hearing on the alternatives at Chateau Westport on March 23 in Westport, Washington.

Last year, the PFMC adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas for the Washington coast of 25,250 Chinook and 159,600 marked coho.

Chinook and coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2020 salmon-fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington's coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those other fisheries.

State and tribal co-managers will complete the tentative 2020 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with PFMC during its April meeting in Vancouver, Washington.

Several additional public meetings are scheduled in March and April to discuss regional fisheries. The public will also soon be able to comment on proposed salmon fisheries through WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/, where a list of additional scheduled public meetings – several of which will be streamed live – can be found.

People who want to participate in the North of Falcon process are encouraged to check the website regularly for meeting updates and schedule changes in response to impacts of COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.



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