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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


July 01, 1998
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

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Salmon conservation reduces north Puget Sound fishing

SILVERDALE -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission reduced the sport salmon fishing seasons in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands this summer in order to help Canada conserve its Thompson River wild coho stock.

In addition, the commission required commercial purse seine and reef net fishers to release all coho to help conserve Thompson River coho.

The unanimous actions implemented Gov. Gary Locke's principle in agreement announced last week that is designed to protect Puget Sound chinook as well as the Thompson River coho stock. Canada has agreed to restrict fishing in the Strait of Georgia to allow approximately 4,000 wild Puget Sound chinook return to Washington rivers. And estimated 10,000 hatchery chinook also will return to Washington waters.

To conserve the Canadian coho, the commission decided the sport fishing season in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Areas 5 and 6) would be closed from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10. The season had been scheduled from Aug. 1 to Sept. 7. Some days may be restored to the season in the strait if it appears commercial gillnet fishing for sockeye is limited.

The commission also closed a portion of the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) to salmon fishing from Aug. 16 through Aug. 29. The area opened for some salmon species today and was scheduled to be opened at least through Nov. 30.

In addition to returning more wild chinook to Washington rivers, the agreement also brings the following benefits to Washington salmon stocks:

  • The governments of Washington and Canada will become more actively involved in salmon negotiations
  • Canada will provide timely information about its salmon harvest plans during Washington's salmon season fishing process, known as North of Falcon
  • Canada will help implement selective fisheries which allow fishers to harvest fin-clipped hatchery fish and release wild salmon
Gov. Locke's agreement in principle focuses on northern Puget Sound fisheries because Thompson River coho migrate through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juans to the Fraser River, of which the Thompson is a tributary. Puget Sound chinook return to their native rivers via the Strait of Georgia and the west coast of Vancouver Island.