PFMC Sets Ocean
by Bill Rudolph
While some West Coast fish managers are fretting about the tough ocean conditions facing juvenile migrants this year, others are crowing about the great adult returns they expect to show up. With strong returns predicted for the Columbia, Sacramento, and Klamath rivers, both commercial and recreational fishermen should be getting more fish to catch than last year.
"I am pleased that we were able to provide coastwide commercial and recreational fishing opportunities while meeting or exceeding our conservation goals," said Dorothy Lowman, chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, in an April 15 statement. "It has been impressive to see everyone working together to address our management challenges, including the ongoing drought in California."
North of Cape Falcon, there is an overall non-Indian total allowable catch of 131,000 Chinook and 170,000 marked hatchery coho.
A mark-selective Chinook season north of Cape Falcon begins May 30 off the Columbia River and Westport, and May 16 off La Push and Neah Bay. This fishery ends June 12, or when 10,000 marked Chinook are caught in all port areas combined.
The recreational fishery north of Cape Falcon opens to all salmon on June 13 and ends September 30 or when Chinook or coho quotas are reached. The preseason coho quota for all port areas combined is 150,800.
Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons in the May-June timeframe and all-salmon seasons in the late-June-to-September timeframe. The Chinook quotas of 40,200 in May-June and 26,800 in the all-salmon season are moderately higher than the 2014 quotas. The coho quota of 19,200 is a considerable decrease from last year.
Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar to 2014 with Chinook and coho quotas of 60,000 and 42,500 respectively.
Further south, an expected abundance of 650,000 Sacramento River fall Chinook, and more than 420,000 fall Chinook for the Klamath River promises strong recreational and commercial fishing seasons this year.
The PFMC said ongoing drought concerns "led the Council, the state of California and the fishing community to work collaboratively to shape fisheries south of Point Arena, California in such a way as to provide protections to Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, while allowing good opportunities to catch the relatively abundant populations of Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook."
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