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

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March 10, 2000
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Conservation efforts to reduce ocean salmon fishing in 2000

OLYMPIA–Conservation efforts for wild salmon will mean less sport and commercial salmon fishing in the Pacific Ocean off the Washington coast this year compared to last.

That's the message from the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) which concluded a five-day meeting in Sacramento today. The PFMC, which manages salmon fisheries in federal waters, produced three ocean fishing options for public comment before selecting one of the season options in April.

"The proposed seasons are more restrictive this year in response to declines in chinook and coho stocks along the coast, in the Columbia River and in Puget Sound," said Phil Anderson, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife official who sits on the PFMC.

He explained fish managers expect strong hatchery coho returns to the Columbia River which will allow anglers to fish for marked hatchery fish–those lacking an adipose fin--in the ocean. Wild coho will have to be released.

But other coho stocks, including those returning to Puget Sound and coastal rivers, are expected to be weak this year. Puget Sound chinook stocks are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and several Columbia River chinook runs are expected to be weak.

Based on the expected returns, the PFMC voted to present three options to the public for comment either by mail or at public meetings. The first public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 27 at the Chateau Westport Hotel in Westport. The public also will have the opportunity to comment during the PFMC's decision-making meeting April 3-7 at the Columbia River DoubleTree Inn in Portland.

The three options approved for public review are:

Option 1: 100,000 coho and 25,000 chinook for non-Indian sport and commercial fisheries, of which anglers could harvest a total of 12,500 chinook and 75,000 marked coho in the following areas:

  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay): Open July 3 through Sept. 30 or when a quota of 6,000 marked coho is reached; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon per day of which one may be a chinook; harvest guideline of 500 chinook
  • Marine Area 3 (LaPush): Open July 3 through Sept. 30 or when a quota of 1,700 marked coho is reached; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon per day of which one may be chinook; harvest guideline of 300 chinook
  • Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores): Open July 3 through Sept. 30 or when the quota of 29,200 marked coho is reached; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon per day of which one may be a chinook; harvest guideline of 7,400 chinook
  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): Open July 10 through Sept. 30 or until a quota of 37,500 coho is reached; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon per day of which one may be a chinook; harvest guideline of 4,300 chinook

Option 2: 75,000 coho and 20,000 chinook for non-Indian sport and commercial fisheries of which anglers could harvest a total of 56,250 marked coho and 10,000 chinook in the following areas:

  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay): Open July 10 through Sept. 30 or until a quota of 5,000 marked coho is reached; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released
  • Marine Area 3 (LaPush): Open July 10 through Sept. 30 or until the quota of 1,200 marked coho is caught; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released
  • Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores): Open July 10 through Sept. 30 or until the quota of 21,900 marked coho is caught; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook; harvest guideline of 6,500 chinook
  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): Open July 10 through Sept. 30 or until a quota of 28,100 marked coho is caught; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon daily limit of which one may be a chinook; harvest guideline of 3,500 chinook

Option 3: 50,000 coho for sport and commercial fisheries but no chinook. Anglers may harvest 37,500 marked coho in the following areas:

  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay): Open July 24 through Sept. 30 or until the quota of 3,900 marked coho is caught; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released
  • Marine Area 3 (LaPush): Open July 24 through Sept. 30 or until the quota of 976 marked coho are caught; fishing open seven days per week; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released
  • Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores): Open July 24 through Sept. 30 or until a quota of 13,875 marked coho are caught; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released
  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): Open July 24 through Sept. 30 or until a quota of 18,750 marked coho are caught; fishing open Sunday through Thursday; two salmon daily limit; chinook must be released

Persons who cannot attend the public meetings may mail their comments to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Suite 224, 2130 SW Fifth Ave., Portland, Ore., 97201.

The PFMC manages salmon fisheries in the Pacific Ocean from California to the Canadian border.

Salmon fishing seasons in Puget Sound and other state waters are set during the North of Falcon season setting process. The first North of Falcon meeting is scheduled for March 15-16 at the Sheraton Hotel-Portland Airport in Portland. The second is scheduled for March 29-30 at the Doubletree Inn at Southcenter in Tukwila.

Final salmon fishing seasons for the ocean and state waters will be set April 3-7 at the PFMC/North of Falcon meeting at the Columbia River Doubletree Inn in Portland.