Author(s): Geraldine Vander Haegen, Larry LeClair, Erik White
Effective management of mixed-stock salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest relies heavily on the ability to maximize the harvest of strong stocks while preventing the overexploitation of weak stocks, some of which may be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Achieving escapement goals for weak stocks often require the implementation of more restrictive harvest regulations that result in a surplus escapement of fish from strong stocks. The development of methods that enable fishers to selectively harvest strong stocks without jeopardizing weak stock recovery efforts is a key element in Pacific salmon conservation strategy. In this study, we explore the feasibility of using a tangle net to decrease capture-related mortality of non-target stocks. If non-target stocks can be returned to the water with reasonable certainty that their spawning migration will not be affected through capture and release, then restrictions governing the spatial and temporal limitations of the fishery may be relaxed, thus enabling more opportunity to harvest from strong stocks.