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

April 09, 1999
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360)902-2256

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Innovations, restrictions to allow 1999 salmon fishing

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The unprecedented use of innovative fishing techniques plus carefully sculpted seasons will allow 1999 salmon fishing on healthy hatchery and wild stocks while protecting runs in poor condition, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

Seasons for sport, commercial and tribal fishing in the ocean as well as Puget Sound and other state waters were finalized during the public Pacific Fishery Management Council and North of Falcon processes which concluded here today. Federal, state and tribal managers as well as interested citizens participated in the meetings.

The seasons offer some of the best ocean fishing for hatchery fish for years as well as opportunities in Puget Sound and other state waters.

The use of innovative fishing techniques combined with restrictions are designed to rebuild Puget Sound chinook and other wild salmon stocks soon to be protected by the federal Endangered Species Act listings as well as others. The restrictions, based on the timing and routes of migrating salmon, are designed to minimize the harvest of wild runs in trouble.

The National Marine Fisheries Service–the federal overseers of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon–participated in developing the 1999 salmon fishing seasons that focus on hatchery and healthy wild stocks.

Conservation of troubled wild salmon runs was the key consideration in setting the 1999 seasons, said Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. All fishers must be prepared for sudden changes in scheduled fishing seasons as updated information about salmon runs sizes is available to fisheries scientists.

"This new era in which the Endangered Species Act has become part of our lives demands smarter and much more careful salmon fishing if we are to have any salmon fishing at all. This new way of doing business requires strict accountability and timely monitoring of fisheries and harvests to ensure protection and release of wild salmon from weak runs," Koenings said. "The state of our salmon stocks is not just an issue for fishers–every Washington citizen has a stake in their recovery."

"But we also have to remember many chum, pink and some coho stocks are healthy and many of our fellow citizens depend upon sport and commercial fishing for their livelihoods. And salmon also are central to the tribal way of life," he added.

New salmon-protecting features of the 1999 sport salmon fishing season include:

  • Keeping adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho while releasing unmarked salmon in many areas
  • Using weights weighing less than 2 ounces at times in some areas to harvest shallow-swimming coho while protecting chinook, which swim at greater depths
  • Using genetic testing to ensure fish being harvested are from healthy stocks
  • Emphasizing monitoring by biologists of sport and commercial fisheries to ensure weak stocks aren't being harmed
  • Concentrating on-water enforcement patrols to prevent poaching of weak stocks

Koenings said marked coho will play an important role in setting sport fisheries for the ocean as well as northern Puget Sound.

For example, ocean ports such as Ilwaco and Westport will offer a total landed catch of 110,000 adipose fin-clipped coho from Columbia River hatcheries. That means anglers will have to release coho with adipose fins, which are located on the back just forward of the tail. Sport anglers also may harvest 21,500 hatchery chinook.

"Selective fisheries on marked hatchery fish are key to continued salmon fishing in Washington," said Koenings, "We intend to monitor these fisheries carefully and provide special enforcement patrols to ensure everyone–from commercial to sport fishers–follows the rules.

Koenings emphasized commercial fishers are joining recreational fishers in using innovative efforts to ensure fish from healthy hatchery and wild runs are caught, while wild salmon from stocks in trouble are released.

New requirements for commercial fishers in any fisheries include:

  • Using a technique known as "brailling" on purse seine vessels. Crew members will use nets to remove fish from the large seine nets so coho and chinook can be sorted on deck and released while sockeye, chum or pinks are kept. Normal seine net retrieval techniques could harm protected fish when the seine was pulled aboard.
  • Using small mesh sizes in gillnets that won't capture chinook during fisheries for species such as sockeye and pinks
  • Keeping commercial nets away from areas known to be used by migrating chinook
  • Requiring each encounter with a wild chinook or coho to be recorded in a special log validated by WDFW so the agency biologists can ensure a minimum number of protected fish are being caught in nets and released
  • Limiting the incidental catch of chinook in non-tribal gillnet fisheries for Fraser River sockeye to 715 fish

Here are the 1999 sport salmon fishing seasons for marine areas. Anglers should check the 1999-2000 Fishing in Washington regulation pamphlet for seasons for rivers as well as other fishing rules:

Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco)

  • Open July 19 until Sept. 30 or until salmon quotas are taken: Open Sunday through Thursday, two salmon daily of which one may be a chinook; coho must have a healed adipose fin clip; no more than six fish per calendar week
  • Columbia River (Buoy 10): Open Aug. 1 through Sept. 30; open 7 days a week, 2 salmon per day; coho must have a healed adipose fin clip

Marine Area 2 (Westport)

  • Open July 19 through Sept. 30 or until salmon quotas are taken. Open Sunday through Thursday, two salmon daily of which one may be a chinook; coho must have a healed adipose fin clip; no more than six fish per calendar week; closed three miles offshore in from Aug. 22 through Sept 30
  • Area 2-1 (Willapa Bay): Open Aug. 16 through Jan. 31, six salmon daily limit of which two may be adults; release wild coho
  • Area 2-2 (Grays Harbor): Open Sept. 16 through Oct. 31, six salmon daily limit of which two may be adults; release adult chinook
  • Westport Boat Basin: Open Sept. 16 through Jan. 31, six salmon daily limit of which four may be adult; open daylight hours only
  • Ocean Shores Boat Basin: To be announced

Marine Area 3 (La Push)

  • Open July 19 through Sept. 30 or until salmon quotas are taken; fishing open 7 days per week, 2 salmon per day; coho must have healed adipose fin clip

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay)

  • Open July 19 through Sept. 30 or until the area coho quota is taken; all salmon except chinook; 2 salmon per day; coho must have healed adipose fin clip
  • Area 4-B (Cape Flattery to the Sekiu River): Open after ocean closure or Aug. 30 (whichever is later) through Sept. 30 or until salmon quota is taken; fishing open 7 days a week, two salmon daily; release chinook, coho must have healed adipose fin clip

Marine Area 5 (western Straight of Juan de Fuca)

  • May 1-July 31: closed
  • Aug. 1-Sept. 30: two salmon limit; release chinook and chum and wild coho; waters within 3/4 mile of the mainland shore are closed to salmon angling from boats Aug. 1 through Aug 31 (shore fishing permitted)
  • Oct. 1-Oct. 31: closed
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be chinook, release coho
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: two salmon daily limit of which one may be chinook
  • April 11-April 30: closed

Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca)

  • May 1-July 31: closed
  • Aug. 1-Sept. 30: two salmon limit; release chinook and chum and wild coho; waters within 3/4 mile of the mainland shore are closed to salmon angling from boats (shore fishing permitted)
  • Oct. 1-Oct. 31: closed
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be chinook, release coho
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: two salmon daily limit of which one may be chinook
  • April 11-April 30: closed

Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands)

  • May 1-June 30: closed
  • July 1-Sept. 30: two salmon limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; salmon closures: Bellingham Bay July 1-August 15; Samish Bay Aug. 1 through Oct. 15; Rosario Strait/eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca closed July 1-Sept. 30
  • Oct. 1-Oct. 31: two salmon daily limit; release chinook
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit, chinook must e at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed

Marine Area 8-1 (Skagit Bay, Deception Pass, Hope Island)

  • May 1-Aug. 31: closed
  • Sept. 1-Oct. 31: two salmon daily limit, release chinook
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed

Marine Area 8-2 (Port Gardner and Port Susan)

  • May 1-July 31: closed
  • Aug. 1-Oct. 31: two salmon daily limit, release chinook
  • Nov. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb 16-April 10: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed
  • Tulalip Terminal Area: open from 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 a.m. Monday of each week Aug. 1-Sept. 30; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length

Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet)

  • May 1-July 31: closed
  • Aug. 1-Aug. 31: two salmon daily limit; release chinook; release chum from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30; 2-ounce weight restriction Aug. 1-Aug. 31 (Note: regulation may change.)
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit, chinook must be at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed
  • Edmonds Pier and Hood Canal Bridge: open all year: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; release chum caught from Hood Canal Bridge from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30

Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton)

  • May 1-June 30: closed
  • July 1-Oct. 31: two salmon daily, release chinook; two-ounce weight restriction from July 1-Aug. 31; Agate Pass closed Jan. 1-Mar. 31; Shilshole Bay (east of Meadow Point/West Point line) closed July 1-Aug. 31; check Elliott Bay and Sinclair Inlet special regulations (Note: regulation may change.)
  • Nov. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit, chinook must be at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed
  • Elliott Bay piers: open all year; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length

Marine Area 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island)

  • May 1-May 31: closed
  • June 1-July 31: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook; Commencement Bay closed (Note: regulation may change.)
  • Aug. 1-Nov. 30: two salmon daily limit of which one may be chinook (Note: regulation may change.)
  • Dec. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit
  • April 11-April 30: closed

Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal)

  • May 1-June 30: closed
  • July 1-Aug. 31: (south of Ayock Point) two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; release chum and pink salmon; (north of Ayock Point: closed July 1-July 31; open Aug. 1-Aug 31, four salmon limit, release chinook, chum and pink salmon; two-ounce weight restriction (Note: regulation may change.)
  • Sept. 1-Oct. 15: four salmon daily limit, release chinook, chum and pinks
  • Oct. 16-Dec. 31: four salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • Jan. 1-Feb. 15: closed
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed
  • Hood Canal Bridge: open all year; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; release chum Aug. 1-Sept. 30
  • Hoodsport Hatchery Zone: open July 1-Dec. 15; four salmon daily limit of which two may be chinook; release chum July 1-Oct. 15; daylight hours only

Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound)

  • May 1-Dec. 31: two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; release wild coho July 1-Oct. 31; note Budd Inlet and Carr Inlet closures
  • Jan. 1-Feb. 15: catch and release only
  • Feb. 16-April 10: one salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length
  • April 11-April 30: closed
  • Fox Island Pier: open all year; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length; release wild coho July 1-Oct. 31