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Ecology and salmon related articles

Compact to Adopt Net Season

by Allen Thomas, Columbian staff writer
The Columbian, July 29, 2004

Washington and Oregon officials meet today in Longview to adopt the first of the fall gillnet seasons in the lower Columbia River.

The session of the Columbia River Compact starts at 10 a.m. at the Cowlitz Public Utility District office, 961 12th Ave.

A framework for splitting the non-Indian share of the Columbia's fall chinook salmon run is negotiated each March and April.

Specific dates for commercial harvest of fall chinook, coho and sturgeon then are adopted in-season, beginning in late July and continuing into October.

Fall salmon management is a complicated balancing act of splitting the harvest between tribal and non-Indian fishermen, then between non-Indian sport and commercial fishermen and even between sportsmen in different stretches of the lower Columbia.

Wild Snake River fall chinook salmon are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. An agreement between Washington, Oregon, the tribes and the federal government caps the harvest of the upriver bright stock of fall chinook at 31.29 percent to protect those wild Snake River fish.

That 31.29 percent is split 8.25 percent for non-Indians downstream of Bonneville Dam and 23.04 percent for the treaty tribes in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools.

The non-Indian share of 8.25 percent is split 52 percent for the sports fishery and 48 percent for the commercials.

The allocation framework sets out expectations for how the fall seasons will managed.

For the commercials, the framework calls for:

For sportsmen, the fall framework calls for: Water conditions, early or delayed entry of the chinook into the Columbia and a variety of other factors could result in deviations from the plan.

Allen Thomas covers hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and other outdoor recreation topics for The Columbian.
Compact to Adopt Net Season
The Columbian, July 29, 2004

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