SEATTLE – State and tribal co-managers today agreed on a package of salmon fisheries that meets conservation goals for wild salmon populations, while providing fishing opportunities on healthy stocks.
Washington’s 2012 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized today during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) meeting in Seattle. The fishing package defines regulations for salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington’s ocean and coastal areas and the Columbia River.
In developing salmon seasons and catch quotas, WDFW fishery managers worked closely with advisors and members of the public to design state-managed fisheries that meet conservation goals for wild salmon and result in the fair sharing of harvest opportunity, said Phil Anderson, WDFW Director.
“State and tribal co-managers worked hard to identify fisheries that were meaningful for both tribal and state fishers,” said Anderson, who represents WDFW on the management council. “By using a variety of management tools, we were able to design those fisheries so that they are consistent with efforts to protect and rebuild weak wild salmon stocks.”
Key to those efforts is repairing and protecting quality spawning and rearing habitat for salmon, said Lorraine Loomis, fisheries manager for the Swinomish Tribe.
“While effective harvest and hatchery management can help provide limited fishing opportunities, wild salmon continue to decline because their habitat is being lost and damaged faster than it can be restored. This puts our treaty rights at risk,” Loomis said. “Habitat is the key to salmon recovery.”
As in past years, recreational salmon fisheries in 2012 will vary by area:
- Columbia River: The Buoy 10 fishery will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Sept. 3 (Labor Day) and Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. From Aug. 1 through Sept. 3, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which may be a chinook. From Sept. 4 through Sept. 30, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery coho, but must release chinook. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, anglers can keep six fish, only two of which can be adults. North Jetty salmonid anglers may use barbed hooks seven days a week when Marine Area 1 or Buoy 10 salmon seasons are open. The mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Anglers will be allowed to retain one adult chinook as part of their two-adult daily limit through Sept. 9. From Sept. 10 through Sept. 30, chinook retention will only be allowed upstream of the Lewis River, but up to two adult chinook may be retained. Beginning Oct. 1, up to two adult chinook may be retained throughout the lower river, from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam.
Specific fishing seasons and regulations for marine areas in Washington and a portion of the Columbia River will be available in the next couple of weeks on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/ .