Ocean salmon quota options reflect strong runs

Tacoma News TribuneMarch 14, 2014 

A chinook salmon.

STATE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Under options approved late Thursday, recreation anglers fishing off the Washington coast this year could see a higher catch quota for chinook salmon, and certainly higher coho quotas.

The three alternatives for ocean fishing approved by the Pacific Fishery Management Council are in response to projections of a higher abundance of hatchery chinook and a significant increase in the number of coho bound for the Columbia River.

The council establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

 These are the ocean fishing options approved:

Alternative 1: 60,000 chinook and 193,200 coho.

Alternative 2: 58,000 chinook and 176,400 coho.

Alternative 3: 47,500 chinook and 159,600 coho.

2013 quotas: 48,000 chinook and 74,760 coho

 

“The strong returns forecast for Columbia River hatchery chinook and coho will allow us to provide recreational anglers some great fishing opportunities off the Washington coast this year, while continuing to meet conservation objectives for wild salmon populations,” Phil Anderson, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement.

More than 1.6 million Columbia River fall chinook salmon are expected back this year. If that forecast holds true, it would be the largest since record-keeping began in 1938.

The forecast for Columbia River coho is about 964,000 fish, three times as many fish as last year’s actual run.In addition to catch quotas, the council also establishes season structures.

Two of the alternatives include mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook in June. If approved when the council meets in early April, this would be the fifth-straight year the ocean fishery would begin with such a mark-selective fishery. Mark-selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery salmon that are marked with a missing adipose fin.Two of the alternatives would also allow retention of hatchery chinook in the LaPush and Neah Bay areas during halibut openings in May.

Here are details of the seasons setup under each option:

Alternative 1

 Selective fishery for hatchery chinook:

Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores): May 31-June 20: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

Marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay): May 16-17 and May 23-24 and May 31-June 20: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

 Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

Marine Area 1: June 21-Sept. 30: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 2: June 21-Sept. 30: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 3: June 21-Sept. 21 and Sept. 27-Oct. 12: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.  

Marine Area 4: June 21-Sept. 21: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.

Alternative 2

 Selective fishery for hatchery chinook:

Marine areas 1 and 2: June 7-June 20: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

Marine areas 3 and 4: May 23-24 and June 7-20: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release coho and wild chinook.

 Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

Marine Area 1: June 21-Sept. 30: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 2: June 21-Sept. 21: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 3: June 21-Sept. 21 and Sept. 27-Oct. 12: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.

Marine Area 4: June 21-Sept. 21: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.

Alternative 3

Traditional ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho:

Marine Area 1: June 14-Sept. 30: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 2: June 15-Sept. 30: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained.

Marine Area 3: June 14-Sept. 21 and Sept. 27-Oct. 12: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.

        Marine Area 4: June 14-Sept. 21: Open daily. Daily limit of two salmon.

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