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PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504-3200

Phone: 360-902-2267
Fax: 360-902-2448

Bradley Smith, Ph.D., Chair
Larry Carpenter, Vice Chair


Commission Policy Documents

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POLICY  TITLE:  Mainstem Columbia River Spring Chinook Management and Allocation for Non-Indian Fisheries, 2009-2013 POLICY NUMBER:  C-3617  
Supercedes:  C-3617, 2008 Effective Date:  January 1, 2009
    Termination Date:  December 31, 2013
See Also: Attachment 1, and C-3618 Approved by:  /s/ Jerry Gutzwiler, 
Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair 

DOWNLOAD: Signed copy of Policy C-3617 (PDF)

Discussion: This policy is similar to Policy C-3617 for 2008, with changes associated with discussion of the Columbia River Fish Working Group (CRFWG). Attachment #1 from Policy C-3617 for 2008 is replaced with recommendations from the CRFWG as amended by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission decision of January 16, 2009.

Guiding Principles

  • The Department serves as the trustee of this public resource and as such is responsible and accountable for sustainable fisheries.
  • Conservation and recovery are the highest priorities and will take precedence in managing the resource.
  • The Department will comply with the provisions of the U.S. v Oregon Management Agreement for upriver spring Chinook.
  • Tradeoffs between current harvest benefits and long-term stock well-being will be resolved in favor of the long-term stock well-being.
  • The Department must be consistent with prescribed recovery measures in National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinions, and safeguard the health and viability of all salmon stocks as a precondition for harvest.
  • Manage harvest to meet hatchery goals.
  • The Department must meet conservation requirements for wild spring Chinook and wild winter steelhead, including populations listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
  • The Department will manage harvest consistent with the applicable recovery management objectives.

Selective Fishery and Enforcement Guidelines

  • All fishers will comply with selective fisheries rules and standards.
  • The Department will continue to make improvements in the selectivity of recreational and commercial fishery gear through research and feasibility studies.
  • The Department will develop and implement a strategy for public communications and outreach on compliance issues.
  • The Department will continue to pursue strategies to enhance enforcement efforts and successful prosecution through the use of observer programs, increased enforcement presence, and cooperative work with local prosecutors.
  • The Commission expects recreational and commercial fishing sectors to demonstrate responsibility for continuous learning and skills development for selective harvest practices.

Columbia River Fish Working Group (CRFWG)

  • The Commission supports the CRFWG Phase I process to develop short-term recommendations regarding sport/commercial allocation of spring and summer Chinook.
  • The Commission supports the CRFWG Phase II process to develop long-term fishery management plans and strategies to assist in recovery of Columbia River salmon and steelhead resources.

Fisheries Management Objectives

  • The Department will manage the mainstem Columbia River spring Chinook fisheries to limit the wild winter steelhead impact to less than 2%.
  • The Department will exercise in-season management flexibility to utilize the non-Indian upriver spring Chinook impact allocation to meet the objectives of both fisheries, i.e., upriver impact sharing adjustments in response to in-season information pertaining to catch and run size.
  • The Department will recognize the economic benefits of recreational and commercial fisheries in the Columbia River and associated value of the early portions of the fisheries.
  • The Department will provide for sport fisheries throughout the Columbia River downstream of McNary Dam, sport/tribal fisheries in the Snake River and upper Columbia River, and commercial and sport fisheries in select areas, as well as in the mainstem below Bonneville Dam.
  • The Department will ensure broad geographic distribution of the sport fishing opportunity in the main-stem Columbia River.
  • Harvestable Lower Columbia River spring Chinook should provide opportunity to areas below the Willamette River.
  • Extend sport fishing opportunity as far into April as possible downstream of Bonneville Dam, with a high probability of an uninterrupted 45-day season in March-April.

Delegation of Authority
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission delegates the authority to the Director, through the Columbia River Compact process, to set seasons for sport and commercial fisheries in the Columbia River consistent with Policy C-3617, and to adopt permanent and emergency regulations to implement these fisheries. The Director shall work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to achieve implementation of this Commission action in a manner that results in concurrent regulations between the two states.  The Director shall consult with the Commission if it becomes necessary to deviate from the Commission’s Policy to achieve concurrent regulations with Oregon.

Allocation of Upriver Spring Chinook Impacts
The Commission adopts the recommendations of the CRFWG, except the commercial buffer is reduced by 10% (e.g., 50% to 40%), and except there would be up to 10% flexibility in the recreational buffer in order to meet management objectives.

C-3617 - ATTACHMENT #1:

Columbia River Sport and Commercial Spring Chinook Fisheries: Objectives and Strategies for Near- and Long-Term Management (PDF)