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
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
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
- Canada will help implement selective fisheries which allow fishers to harvest
fin-clipped hatchery fish and release wild salmon