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Ecology and salmon related articles

PFMC to Adopt Catch Quota
with ESA-Listed Stocks in Mind

by CBB Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin - March 19, 2004

The federal Pacific Fishery Management Council last week adopted several options for quotas on the number of fish allowed to be caught during the 2004 recreational coastal fishery.

The PFMC determines the annual exploitation or harvest rate for a mix of wild and hatchery fish in coastal areas out to 200 miles offshore. When it sets those quotas, it must keep fishing pressure to a minimum level for the weakest of the Columbia River and Puget Sound salmon stocks listed under the endangered species act.

The biggest concern for the PFMC in the Columbia River Basin is the Snake River fall chinook, the weakest stock that drives the quota for the PFMC, said Doug Williams of WDFW.

Even though the return of Snake River fall chinook is predicted to be higher this year than in 2003, Williams said, the take of those fish must remain constant. About 300 of the endangered fish were caught last year. If the PFMC were to keep the same fishing package, or quota, this year as in 2003, the ESA listed fish would make up a bigger percentage of the run and more would be caught.

Although chinook and coho salmon runs are forecasted to be larger this year, all the options are lower than the quotas the PFMC adopted for the 2003 ocean fishing season.

Each year in early March the PFMC adopts a range of quotas for the size of catch that will be allowed during the ocean season in the recreational coastal fishery from Cape Falcon, south of Cannon Beach, Oregon, to the northern tip of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. The Commission will meet in Sacramento April 5-9 to make the final decision among the options after getting input from federal, state and tribal salmon managers.

"The options adopted under this federal fisheries process give us a management framework that ensures weak salmon stocks get the conservation protection they need as we shape biologically sound fishing opportunities on healthy stocks," said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Koenings.

The options for the 2004 offshore recreational fishery are:

The 2003 quotas were 59,600 chinook and 225,000 coho salmon. The actual recreational ocean catch in 2003 was 36,500 chinook and 168,800 coho. In addition, the PFMC also set a range of non-Indian commercial and Indian commercial harvest quotas. Non-Indian commercial troll fishery: Indian commercial troll fishery: The PFMC is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. It is responsible for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Related Links:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:
WDFW planning process:
Pacific Fisheries Management Council:

CBB Staff
PFMC to Adopt Catch Quota with ESA-Listed Stocks in Mind
Columbia Basin Bulletin, March 19, 2004

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