OLYMPIA - Starting Monday (Feb. 10), anglers will be limited to one salmon per day in Marine Area 9, the portion of Puget Sound stretching from Edmonds to Port Townsend.
State fishery managers approved the new limit - down from two salmon per day - to try to stay within the chinook guideline for the area.
"We've counted more fish so far this season than were counted at the same point in previous years," said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "After reviewing the catch estimates, it was clear we needed to take action to control the fishery's impacts on stocks of concern."
Except at the Edmonds Pier, anglers fishing in Marine Area 9 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin as a hatchery fish. However, since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 1,842 total encounters with legal-size chinook during the fishery.
According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 1,676 chinook in Marine Area 9 as of Feb. 2.
The new catch limit will ensure compliance with conservation objectives and state-tribal management plans in Puget Sound, Lothrop said. He said WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 9 through April 15, when it is scheduled to close.
Anglers participating in the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby, which begins Feb. 15, should take note of the new limit for Area 9, Lothrop said. Of the three areas the derby encompasses, Marine Area 6 historically has been the most popular, Lothrop said. Anglers fishing in marine areas 6 and 7 can keep two salmon daily but must release wild chinook.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW's Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/