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July 22, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Neah Bay chinook closure

OLYMPIA -- The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced closure of the recreational salmon fishery in the Neah Bay area (management area 4), effective 11:59 pm Wednesday, July 23.

The fishery opened on Monday, July 21, under a catch quota of only 550 chinook salmon. Participation in the fishery was high and Department of Fish and Wildlife staff estimated the daily catch rate to be approximately 200 chinook. Strict chinook salmon catch quotas were applied to all commercial and recreational fisheries for the 1997 season, in response to the critical condition of several chinook salmon stocks that migrate along the Washington coast.

The salmon fishery will be re-opened at Neah Bay in waters east of the Bonilla- Tatoosh line, from August 1 through August 29, when anglers will be allowed to catch pink salmon, but all chinook and coho must be released. Coho salmon and pink salmon may be taken on August 30 and 31, but chinook salmon must be released. The same area will be open for special catch-and-release only regulations from September 1 through September 14.

Other ocean fishing areas adjacent to the Washington ports of LaPush and Westport and in the Columbia River area remain opened for all salmon species, with minimum size limits of 24 inches for chinook and 16 inches for coho. The daily bag limit in these areas is two salmon, except that in Marine Area 2- Westport-Ocean Shores, the daily bag is two salmon but not more than one may be a chinook salmon. Note that the Area 2 bag limit has been changed from the Department of Fish and Wildlife recreational fishing pamphlet "Fishing in Washington."