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Ecology and salmon related articles

Harvest Managers Set
Ocean Salmon Seasons

by Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, April 24, 2014

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has picked the highest of three potential harvest options for Chinook and coho catches off Washington and Oregon this year, reflecting an expected return to the Columbia River in excess of 1.6 million fall Chinook.

The overall non-Indian quota has been set at 116,000 Chinook and 220,000 coho, with nearly 57,000 Chinook allotted to commercial trollers--about 25 percent higher than last year's quota. Trollers will also get 35,200 coho, more than twice the number allowed last year.

Tribal ocean fisheries will be allowed to harvest 62,500 Chinook and 57,500 coho, while recreational anglers will get 59,100 Chinook and 184,800 marked coho.

South of Cape Falcon, Ore., an expected abundance of more than 600,000 fall Chinook and escapement of more than 300,000 to the Sacramento River will allow recreational fishing opportunities from April to October, and a commercial troll season that is expected to run through October. Commercial trollers were reportedly finding good fishing and great wholesale prices, getting around $10 per pound at the dock.

Recreational fisheries off the central Oregon coast will allow Chinook retention and run from March 15 through October 31. Coho fisheries will include an 80,000 mark-selective quota fishery in mid-summer from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California border and a late-summer 20,000 non-mark selective quota fishery in September, open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain.

The Klamath River recreational fishery allocation had been pegged at 4,128 fall Chinook and the Klamath tribal allocation at 27,294 fish. The PFMC said the 2014 Klamath fall forecast "is less than the very high abundance levels seen in recent years, leading to modest constraints on fisheries in Oregon and California, which are designed to meet conservation objectives and provide adequate spawning populations."

The Council also noted that fisheries north of Cape Falcon are constrained by measures to conserve Chinook stocks in Puget Sound and coho stocks in the interior Fraser River Basin. Recreational fishers will get two short openings for hatchery Chinook in May on the Washington coast, then fishing will reopen May 31 and run until June 13.

In other ocean areas, sporties will get to fish for Chinook and hatchery coho from June 14 into the middle of September, with a two-week reopening shortly thereafter.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1.

"Everyone is excited about the strong, near-record, abundance of Columbia River stocks and improved numbers of coho salmon," said Council Chair Dorothy Lowman. "It is rewarding to see hard work translate into a balance of achieving conservation goals while providing good seasons for both recreational and commercial ocean salmon fisheries this summer."

Bill Rudolph
Harvest Managers Set Ocean Salmon Seasons
NW Fishletter, April 124, 2014

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