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Comprehensive Management Plan for Puget Sound Chinook: Harvest Management Component - Annual Postseason Report 2004-05 Fishing Season

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management - Management and Conservation

Date Published: June 28, 2005

Number of Pages: 531

Author(s): Puget Sound Indian Tribes and WDFW

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Management Year 2004 (May 2004 through April 2005) presented inconsistent fishery and population outcomes. Actual escapement was lower than projected for the Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Puyallup fall, White River spring, Mid-Hood Canal and Elwha management units. Nooksack, mid-Hood Canal, and Dungeness management units each returned at levels below the HMP Low Abundance Threshold (Figure 0-A), as was predicted preseason. Nooksack, Snohomish, mid-Hood Canal, and Dungeness units were managed for Critical Exploitation Rate Ceilings in the 2004-05 season.

Fisheries were conducted as anticipated preseason, but catches in some of those fisheries exceeded preseason predictions. Overall, catches in major fisheries impacting Puget Sound Chinook were higher than expected preseason. Canadian impacts exceeded preseason projections by 30%. Puget Sound fisheries posted mixed results, but in the aggregate exceeded expectations by 9%. Pre-terminal net and troll fishery catch exceeded preseason predictions due to higher-than-anticipated treaty troll effort and success, and greater impacts during U.S. preterminal sockeye fisheries (Figure 0-B). Catches in the individual terminal areas of Skagit, Stillaguamish-Snohomish, South Puget Sound and Hood Canal terminal areas were higher than preseason projections, commensurate with higher-than-forecast run sizes of hatchery and/or natural Chinook there. Chinook harvests in the Nooksack-Samish terminal area were far below preseason expectations, matching the low returns of hatchery fall Chinook in that area.

In terms of fishery monitoring, most, if not all, sampling goals were met throughout Puget Sound, and the numbers of enforcement hours in the 2004 management year were up dramatically from previous years.

Overall, implementation of 2004 fisheries resulted in escapement higher or equal to projections for most stocks, with few exceptions. It is too soon to determine whether deviations in catch made a difference in total exploitation for the affected populations. This evaluation will be the subject of focused analysis, methods for which will be determined in the coming year.