Columbia River Basin Salmon Management

Policy number
C-3617, 2009
C-3618, 2011
Effective date
Termination date
Signed by
Signed by: Miranda Wecker, Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair


The objectives of this policy are to promote orderly fisheries (particularly in waters in which the states of Washington and Oregon have concurrent jurisdiction), advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead, and maintain or enhance the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry in the state.

Definition and Intent
This policy is applicable to the management by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) of Pacific salmon (spring Chinook, summer Chinook, fall Chinook, sockeye, chum, and coho) fisheries in the mainstem of the Columbia River and the Snake River.

General Policy Statement
This policy provides the Department a cohesive set of guiding principles and a progressive series of actions to improve the management of salmon in the Columbia River basin. The actions will be evaluated and, as appropriate, progressively implemented in a transitional period occurring from 2013 through 2016. There is uncertainty in this presumptive path forward, including the development and implementation of alternative selective fishing gear, securing funding for enhanced hatchery production, and the expansion or development of off-channel fishing areas. Consequently, the Commission recognizes that management decisions in the transitional period, and subsequent years, must be informed by fishery monitoring (biological and economic) and may be modified as necessary to meet the stated purpose of this policy.

The Department will promote the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead and provide fishery-related benefits by maintaining orderly fisheries and by increasingly focusing on the harvest of abundant hatchery fish. The Department will seek to implement mark-selective salmon and steelhead fisheries, or other management approaches that are at least as effective, in achieving spawner and broodstock management objectives.

Fishery and hatchery management measures should be implemented as part of an “all-H” strategy that integrates hatchery, harvest, hydro-system and habitat actions. Although it focuses on hatchery and harvest reform, this policy in no way diminishes the significance of habitat and hydro-system protection and restoration.

In implementing the policy guidelines, the Department will work with the tribes in a manner that is consistent with U.S. v. Washington and U.S. v. Oregon and other applicable state and federal laws and agreements.

Read the full policy text