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WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov/

March 14, 2008
Contact: Pat Pattillo, (360) 902-2705

Outlook for ocean salmon fisheries
reflects poor coho forecasts

SACRAMENTO - Washington salmon fishers face a lean fishing season in the ocean this year following the lowest Columbia River coho forecast in a decade, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

The low expectations for Columbia River wild and hatchery coho mirror significantly reduced salmon projections to many other areas of the West Coast, said Phil Anderson, deputy director of WDFW. The poor coho runs also overshadow a slight increase in hatchery chinook returns forecasted for portions of Washington.

Those low coho returns, along with tighter restrictions needed to protect both coho and chinook salmon populations listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, will severely limit salmon fisheries this year in the ocean, Anderson said.

"We haven't seen a Columbia River coho salmon forecast this low since the late '90s," he said. "Poor ocean conditions that persisted off the West Coast in 2005 and 2006 appear to be the primary factor in the dramatic decline of Columbia River coho, as well as chinook salmon originating from central Oregon and California river systems."

This year's Columbia River coho salmon return is expected to total about 196,000 fish, nearly 266,000 fewer salmon than last year's actual run.

Ocean fishing options for chinook and coho salmon fisheries were adopted today by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) at its meeting in Sacramento, Calif. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean water three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, is expected to adopt final ocean fishing harvest levels from among the options at its April 6-11 meeting in SeaTac.

Last year, the PFMC adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas of 16,250 chinook salmon and 117,600 coho. This year's recreational ocean options are:

* 22,500 chinook and 21,000 coho;
* 17,500 chinook and 21,000 coho; and
* 12,500 chinook and 12,600 coho.

Although Columbia River hatchery chinook forecasts are up, the ocean options for chinook are similar to those proposed last year, said Anderson. Those options, which are at near-record low levels, reflect the need to protect wild Columbia River chinook salmon, he said.

"To meet conservation objectives, most salmon fisheries in Washington's waters will be even more restricted this year," Anderson said. "There are some opportunities to craft fisheries that target healthy hatchery stocks, and fishery managers will work with the public in the next couple of weeks to develop those fisheries."

Chinook and coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2008 salmon fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington's coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those fisheries.

The co-managers will complete the final 2008 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with the PFMC process during its April meeting.

Meanwhile, public meetings are scheduled for March and April to discuss regional fisheries issues. Fishery managers will consider input from these regional discussions during the "North of Falcon" process, which involves planning for fishing seasons in Washington's waters.

Two public North of Falcon meetings are scheduled for March 18 at the General Administration Building in Olympia and April 1 at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites. Both meetings will begin at 9 a.m.
 

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Hmmm...the news just keeps getting better :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Jerry Garcia said:
The coho catch is going to be the regulator for the chinook fishery in the ocean.
Hopefully everyone will understand that and toss back their small coho to keep kings open as long as possible.
By the sounds of things this is gonna be a tough year for the charter fleet.
 

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Duro,

Is that because the count toward the quota for areas like 9 last year?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The_Rook said:
Duro,

Is that because the count toward the quota for areas like 9 last year?
No the ocean quotas area differant than the inside waters. In the ocean fishery once the coho quota is reached they will shut down the whole thing. To protect the coho.
 

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"We haven't seen a Columbia River coho salmon forecast this low since the late '90s," he said. "Poor ocean conditions that persisted off the West Coast in 2005 and 2006 appear to be the primary factor in the dramatic decline of Columbia River coho, as well as chinook salmon originating from central Oregon and California river systems."
Why are the Columbia River Coho and the Oregon and California Chinook suffering, but the Columbia River Chinook don't seem so bad off this year? Didn't they all outmigrate into the same "poor ocean conditions"?

-Allen
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
polepole said:
[Why are the Columbia River Coho and the Oregon and California Chinook suffering, but the Columbia River Chinook don't seem so bad off this year? Didn't they all outmigrate into the same "poor ocean conditions"?
-Allen
Maybe the Columbia River Chinook did a better job avoiding the commercials.
 

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Polepole -
The ocean is a large place and one finds different conditions in different locations at different times.

Survival of the salmon once they hit the ocean is often a factor the small fish find when they first hit the marine waters. Those conditions can very considerably along the coast. IN addition different stocks of fish migrate to different areas in the ocean. Most of the California fish spend most of their lives along the Californian and Oregon Coast. Many of the Columbia fish (especially the summer stocks) migrate northward and may spend much of their life in waters as far north as Alaska.

Given the fish's different behaviors we should not be surprised so see different survivals from stocks from different area and in fact one would be surprised if they did survive equally.

Tight lines
Curt
 

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They are called drift nets{GHOSTNETS} and our brothers in the Orient have a taste for any fish it catches or comes in contact with. sick:
 
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