Fishery Management Council adopts 2019 West Coast Salmon seasons
Rohnert Park, Ca. – The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon season recommendations that provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific coast, and achieve conservation goals for the numerous individual salmon stocks on the West Coast.
North of Cape Falcon, a large increase in hatchery coho over last year will provide a welcome increase in both recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.
Season recommendations will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval.
“Although some salmon stocks are returning in stronger numbers than last year, balancing fishing opportunities with conservation is always a challenge for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders, and the public,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy. “The seasons this year continue to protect stocks of concern, including Puget Sound Chinook, Washington natural coho, and Sacramento River fall Chinook.”
In addition to recommending salmon regulations for 2019, the Council developed a plan to work collaboratively with NMFS on Southern Resident killer whales, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
“This year’s package was adopted after careful consideration and analysis in order to meet our conservation objectives, consider impacts on the prey base important to Southern Resident killer whales, and consider in-river and Puget Sound fisheries,” said Council Chair Phil Anderson. “The Council also established a workgroup that will be working closely with National Marine Fisheries Service to assess on a longer term basis the ocean salmon fisheries effect to the prey base of Southern Resident killer whales,” Anderson said.
Washington and Northern Oregon (North of Cape Falcon)
Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (which is just north of Manzanita, Oregon) depend largely on Columbia River Chinook and coho stocks. Overall, Columbia River fall Chinook forecasts are generally considered low to moderate compared to the recent 10-year average. Hatchery coho stocks originating from the Columbia River are expected to return in high numbers, but some natural stocks originating from the Washington coast and Puget Sound are expected to return at low to moderate levels in 2019.
The overall non-Indian total allowable catch north of Cape Falcon is 52,500 Chinook (compared to 55,000 last year) and 190,000 marked hatchery coho (compared to 47,600 last year). Fisheries are designed to provide harvest opportunity on healthy Chinook and coho returns primarily destined for the Columbia River, while avoiding Washington natural Chinook and coho.
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