A new Grays Harbor salmon-management policy will give the recreational fishery priority when allocating the chinook salmon catch between commercial and recreational users.
The policy also allows for an increase in the base allocation of chinook salmon for commercial fisheries when abundance is high, and will focus commercial fishing on coho and chum salmon when harvestable numbers of fish exist.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the new policy Feb. 8.
The policy designed to conserve wild salmon runs and clarify catch guidelines for sport and commercial fisheries.
Other provisions for state-managed fisheries will:
• Limit the total catch of wild chinook salmon to a maximum of 5 percent of the adult return if established spawning goals have not been met in three out of the previous five years.
• Structure commercial seasons so that recreational anglers have at least three consecutive days per week to fish when no commercial fisheries take place.
Commission chairwoman Miranda Wecker said in a news release the new policy makes clear the conservation of wild salmon is the first priority.
“Most importantly, this policy sends a strong and unmistakable signal about the importance of meeting our conservation objectives, even if that means seriously reining in both sport and commercial fisheries,” Wecker said in the release. “It also represents a fair accommodation for both fisheries when harvestable numbers of fish are present.”
In other business, the commission approved the purchase 2 acres of uplands and tidelands at Lynch Cove in Mason County. The department plans to use the land to provide parking and access to waterfowl hunting on Hood Canal.