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

ARCHIVED NEWS RELEASE
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Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.
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March 12, 2015
Contact: Ron Warren, (360) 902-2799

Federal council adopts alternatives
for ocean salmon sport fisheries

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Anglers fishing along the Washington coast will likely see a catch quota for chinook salmon similar to last year's and a lower quota for coho, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Three alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries, approved Thursday for public review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), reflect a decline from 2014 in the forecast for Columbia River hatchery coho and a moderate increase in Columbia River chinook. The PFMC establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

The expected abundance of hatchery chinook and coho salmon should allow fishery managers to provide recreational anglers with some great fishing opportunities off the Washington coast this year, Ron Warren, fisheries policy lead for WDFW.

"With these alternatives in hand, we will work with stakeholders on the coast and Washington's inside waters to develop a final fishing package for 2015 while meeting our conservation objectives for wild salmon," Warren said.

All three alternatives include recreational mark-selective fisheries for chinook in June. Mark selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery salmon, marked with a missing adipose fine, but require that they release wild salmon.

About 900,000 Columbia River fall chinook salmon are expected back this year. If that run comes in at forecast, it would be the third largest since record-keeping began in 1938. A portion of the run - about 255,000 salmon - is expected to be lower river hatchery chinook, which traditionally have been the backbone of the recreational ocean chinook fishery. In-river fisheries will also benefit from the strong return, Warren said.

Additionally, the ocean abundance of Columbia River coho is forecast to be about 777,000 fish. A significant portion of that run will contribute to the ocean fishery as well.

The PFMC is scheduled to make its final decision on this year's ocean regulations and harvest quotas for recreational and commercial fisheries at its April meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif. The recreational fishing alternatives include the following quotas for fisheries off the Washington coast:

  • Alternative 1 - 64,000 chinook and 159,200 coho.
  • Alternative 2 - 62,000 chinook and 134,400 coho.
  • Alternative 3 - 58,000 chinook and 117,600 coho.

The PFMC last year adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas of 59,100 chinook and 184,800 coho salmon.

Under each option for this year, the ocean recreational fishery would vary:

Alternative 1

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook:

  • Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport/Ocean): May 30-June 12. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.
  • Marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay): May 15-16, May 22-23 and May 30-June 12. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

  • Marine areas 1 and 2: June 13-Sept. 30. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.
  • Marine Area 3: June 13-Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-11 in the La Push late season area. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.
  • Marine Area 4: June 13-Sept. 30. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.

Alternative 2

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook:

  • Marine areas 1 and 2: June 6-19. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.
  • Marine areas 3 and 4: May 22-23 and June 6-19. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

  • Marine areas 1 and 2: June 20-Sept. 30. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.
  • Marine Area 3: June 20-Sept. 20 and Sept. 27-Oct. 11 in the La Push late season area. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.
  • Marine Area 4: June 20-Sept. 30. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.

Alternative 3

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook:

  • Marine areas 1, 2, 3 and 4: June 13-26. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

  • Marine Area 1: June 27-Sept. 30. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.
  • Marine Area 2: June 27-Sept. 20. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.
  • Marine Area 3: June 27-Sept. 20 and Sept. 27-Oct. 11 in the La Push late season area. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.
  • Marine Area 4: June 27-Sept. 20. Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon.

A public hearing on the three alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries is scheduled for March 30 in Westport.

Chinook and coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2015 salmon fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington's coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those fisheries.

The co-managers will complete the final 2015 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with the PFMC process during its April meeting.

Meanwhile, several public meetings are scheduled in March to discuss regional fisheries issues. The public can comment on the proposed ocean alternatives as well as on other proposed salmon fisheries through WDFW's North of Falcon webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. A schedule of public meetings, as well as salmon run-size forecasts and more information about the salmon-season setting process can also be found on the webpage.