Category: Selective Fishing
Published: November 27, 2019
Author(s): Ty Garber and Karen Kloempken
In the marine environments of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, abundant runs of hatchery Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) have been mixed with depressed stocks of natural-origin Chinook salmon. Providing recreational anglers with opportunities to harvest abundant hatchery stocks while simultaneously protecting weaker, natural-origin stocks has proven to be a significant conservation and management challenge. The combination of large-scale hatchery marking (i.e., fin clipping) programs and mark-selective harvest regulations makes it possible for anglers to pursue and harvest hatchery Chinook salmon while minimally impacting natural-origin salmon populations. In such “mark-selective fisheries” (MSFs), anglers are generally allowed to retain adipose-fin clipped (“marked”) hatchery fish and are required to release unharmed any unclipped (“unmarked”, predominantly natural-origin) salmon encountered.
Since the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) implemented the first marine mark-selective Chinook salmon fisheries in Marine Areas 5 and 6 (Strait of Juan de Fuca) in 2003 based on state-tribal agreements (Thiesfeld and Hagen-Breaux 2005a,WDFW 2008a), mark-selective Chinook salmon fishing regulations have been implemented in multiple Puget Sound Marine Areas during both the summer and winter seasons. Including the 2019 management season, mark-selective fisheries for Chinook salmon have been conducted in Puget Sound for the last 15 summer (May through September) seasons and the last 14 winter (October through April) seasons.
During the 2018-19 winter season, October through April, WDFW implemented ten mark-selective Chinook salmon fisheries in Marine Areas 5, 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The Chinook MSF seasons in each area were scheduled as follows:
- Marine Area 5 from February 16 through April 30, 2019;
- Marine Area 6 from February 1 through April 15, 2019;
- Marine Area 7 from January 1 through April 15, 2019;
- Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2 from December 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019;
- Marine Area 9 from January 1 through April 15, 2019;
- Marine Area 10 from January 1 through March 31, 2019;
- Marine Area 11 from October 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019;
- Marine Area 12 from October 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019; and
- Marine Area 13 from October 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019.