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Ecology and salmon related articles

Ocean Salmon Harvest
Options Under Review

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, April 3, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council announced March 14 three fishing alternatives under consideration for this year's salmon harvest off the West Coast.

With a fall Chinook run in the Columbia River expected in the 1.6-million-fish range, anglers expecting a huge recreational season may be disappointed since harvests are constrained by ESA-listed fish like lower Columbia wild tule Chinook.

"The strong returns forecast for Columbia River hatchery Chinook and coho will allow us to provide recreational anglers some great fishing opportunities off the Washington coast this year, while continuing to meet conservation objectives for wild salmon populations," said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director Phil Anderson, in a press release.

The Council noted in its latest preseason report that the allowable catch of Chinook above Oregon's Cape Falcon will likely be close to last year's catch "due to a higher relative abundance of [lower Columbia River] natural tule Chinook, but increased impacts in northern fisheries, and a total exploitation rate limit identical to 2013. Coho catch quotas will be higher than in 2013 due to abundant lower Columbia hatchery coho."

The three recreational fishing alternatives call for a Chinook catch that ranges between 47,500 and 60,000, and a coho catch between 159,600 and 193,200 fish. Two alternatives include mark-selective fisheries for hatchery Chinook in June. If approved by the Council, it would be the fifth straight year a mark-selective fishery targeting hatchery fish started off the recreational season.

Commercial troll alternatives range between 47,500 and 57,500 Chinook and between 30,400 and 36,800 coho for non-Indian fisheries north of Cape Falcon. For treaty fishers, the Chinook alternatives range between 55,000 and 67,500 fish; for coho, between 47,500 and 60,000 fish.

Bill Rudolph
Ocean Salmon Harvest Options Under Review
NW Fishletter, April 3, 2014

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