PORTLAND – A package of 2010 salmon fisheries designed to protect weak salmon runs while still providing limited harvest opportunities for treaty tribal and state sport and commercial fishers was completed by the co-managers today in Portland.
The conservation-based package focuses state and tribal salmon fishing opportunities on abundant runs of wild and hatchery salmon expected to return to Washington’s waters this year. Those include coho returns to portions of Puget Sound, and fall chinook making their way along the coast to the Columbia River.
While these and other runs are expected to provide good fishing opportunities this summer, state and tribal salmon fisheries throughout Washington’s waters will continue to be constrained to protect weak salmon stocks.
“This package of state and tribal salmon fisheries reflects the co-managers continuing commitment to recover depressed salmon populations,” said Phil Anderson, WDFW director. “As we continue to work toward that goal, we will ensure that our salmon fisheries meet or exceed conservation objectives for wild salmon.”
Overall, state and tribal salmon fishing opportunities this year in Puget Sound and on the coast will be similar to last year. But there will be some changes.
Unlike last year, there will not be state and tribal fisheries for summer chinook on the Skagit River because of low salmon returns expected back to the river this year. Last summer, anglers and tribal fishers had limited fishing opportunities for chinook on the Skagit River – the first summer chinook opener in 16 years.
“The returns just aren’t there to support summer chinook fisheries in the Skagit this year,” said Lorraine Loomis, fisheries manager for the Swinomish Tribe. “As important as these fisheries are to all of us, we must conserve these salmon for the good of the resource and future generations.”
Restoring and protecting salmon spawning and rearing habitat also is critical to rebuilding salmon stocks, said state and tribal co-managers.
“Conservative fisheries must go hand-in-hand with habitat restoration and protection so that we can continue to progress toward our goal of salmon recovery,” Loomis said.