Category: Selective Fishing
Published: January 23, 2020
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 runs 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 Catch 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 16 summer (May through September) seasons and the last 15 winter (October through April) seasons.
During the 2019 summer season, May through September, WDFW implemented eight mark-selective Chinook salmon fisheries in Areas 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The Chinook MSF seasons in each area were scheduled per the List of Agreed Fisheries as follows:
- Areas 5 from July 1 through August 15, 2019;
- Areas 6 from July 1 through August 15, 2019;
- Area 7 from July 1 through July 31, 2019;
- Area 9 from July 25 through August 15, 2019;
- Area 10 from July 25 through August 31, 2019;
- Area 11 from July 1 through September 30, 2019;
- Area 12 from July 1 through September 30, 2019; and
- Area 13 from May 1 through September 30, 2019.