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Alternative To West Coast Salmon

Economics +1 more

US - The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted three publicreview alternatives for the 2011 salmon season off the West Coast of the United States.The Council will select a final alternative at their next meeting in San Mateo, Californiaon April 9‐14.

We are glad to see three alternatives calling for much better fishing south of Cape Falcon, due to strong forecasted abundance of Sacramento River and Klamath River fall Chinook, said Pacific Council Chairman Mark Cedergreen. While we will have significant ocean seasons off Washington and northern Oregon, we still have some conservation solutions to work on for the salmon stocks in this area.

Washington and Northern Oregon (north of Cape Falcon)

Non‐Indian ocean commercial fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons between May and September. Chinook quotas for all areas and times range from 25,000‐45,000, greater than the 2009 quota of 20,500 but less than the 2010 quota of 56,000. The marked coho quotas range from 10,400 to 15,200 (compared to last years quota of 12,800). One alternative includes the potential to allow non‐mark‐selective coho retention in late August or September.

Tribal ocean fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon have Chinook quotas ranging from 35,000 to 55,000 and coho quotas ranging from 30,000 to 50,000; similar to last years quotas of 55,000 Chinook and 42,500 coho.

North of Cape Falcon, Columbia River hatchery coho returns in 2010 were larger than forecast, but still below average. Columbia River Chinook returns were generally near or above forecast, and above historical averages. The 2011 Columbia River tule Chinook forecasts are mixed, but overall above average.

The hatchery coho forecasts for the Columbia River are slightly lower than last year while the forecast for Oregon coastal natural (OCN) coho is similar to last years actual return and the second highest forecast since 1996.

Oregon (South of Cape Falcon) and California.

Commercial Chinook salmon season alternatives in the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay area will open April 15 and generally run through August, although some alternatives reopen for the month of October. Oregon season alternatives in the Brookings area all have a May 1‐31 season and monthly quota fisheries for June, July, and August. California season alternatives in the Eureka/Crescent City area range from monthly quota fisheries in June through September to entirely closed. All alternatives in the Fort Bragg area include open seasons in August and September, while quota fisheries are included in June and July for some alternatives. All alternatives in San Francisco and Monterey include openings in May, July, August and September, and two alternatives include short openings in June. There are no alternatives that include commercial coho seasons south of Cape Falcon in 2011.

In 2008, poor Sacramento returns led to the largest salmon fishery closure on record.

While the 2009 forecast was better than the previous years, the season alternatives were extremely limited. In 2010, alternatives improved, with the first commercial fishing season off California in three years. This year, abundance is predicted to increase substantially, sufficient to provide robust fisheries and exceed the conservation goal of 122,000 180,000 spawning adult salmon.

In 2006, the Pacific Council established a rebuilding plan for Klamath River fall Chinook after three years of low spawning returns. Since that time returns have increased, and in 2010 were sufficient to meet the Councils criteria for declaring the stock rebuilt. The 2011 Klamath River Fall Chinook forecast is near average and will allow opportunity for ocean and river fisheries while achieving the minimum spawning goal of 35,000 natural adult spawners.

Management Process

Public hearings to receive input on the alternatives are scheduled for March 28 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon; and for March 29 in Eureka, California.

The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, and revise preliminary decisions until it chooses a final alternative at its meeting during the week of April 9 in San Mateo, California.

At its April meeting in San Mateo, the Council will narrow these alternatives to a single season recommendation to be forwarded to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their final approval before May 1.

All Council meetings are open to the public.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3‐200 miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.