PFMC to Adopt Catch Quotaby CBB Staff
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:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: wdfw.wa.gov
WDFW planning process: wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon
Pacific Fisheries Management Council: www.pcouncil.org
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs