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More Chinook And Fewer Coho For California

by the Fish Site Editor
16 March 2010, at 12:00am

US - The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted three public review options for the 2010 salmon season off the West Coast of the United States. The Council will select a final option at their next meeting in Portland, Oregon on April 10-15.

Commercial ocean Chinook salmon fishing options in California range from closed to substantial seasons in all areas. Options for the Oregon season in the Brookings area range from small quotas in June and July to traditional time/area and quota-based seasons running from May through August. In central Oregon, season options have May 1 start dates and run through August or September. California and Oregon options also include a catch-and-release genetic study during closed periods.

Unlike last year, there will not be any commercial fisheries for coho salmon in central and southern Oregon in 2010.

In 2008 and 2009, poor Sacramento returns led to the largest fishery closure on record. While this year’s run should be better, the season options are still limited. Last year about 122,000 fish were expected to spawn, but only about 39,000 actually returned. Without any fishing, 245,000 fish are expected to return to the Sacramento River this year. This year the Council will manage for a minimum conservation goal of 150,000 – 180,000 spawning adult salmon to provide more assurance of meeting the minimum goal of 122,000.

Also in California, Klamath River Fall Chinook are forecast to meet the minimum natural spawning goal of 35,000, and the 2010 management objective of 40,700.

Coho returns are expected to be lower in 2010, and quotas for Oregon fisheries will be substantially less than in 2009.

Non-Indian ocean commercial fishery options north of Cape Falcon include traditional Chinook seasons in the May-June timeframe and all-salmon seasons in the July-to-September timeframe. One all-salmon season option includes a gear restriction to target primarily Chinook salmon and avoid coho salmon. Chinook quotas for all areas and times range from 40,000 to 55,000, which are twice or more of the 2009 quota. The coho quotas range from 10,000 to 18,000, one-third to one-half the 2009 quota.

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar to recent years, although coho quotas are also much smaller than in 2009.

The 2010 Columbia River tule Chinook forecasts are much improved over 2009. The hatchery coho forecasts for the Columbia River are about a third of the 2009 forecast, which was the best since 2001. The forecast for Oregon coastal natural (OCN) coho is also lower than in 2009, but still better than average.

Public hearings to receive input on the options are scheduled for March 29 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon; and for March 30 in Eureka, California. The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, and revise preliminary decisions until it chooses a final option at its meeting during the week of April 10 in Portland, Oregon.

At its April 10-15 meeting in Portland, the Council will narrow these options to a single season recommendation to be forwarded to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their final approval before May 1.

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.

the Fish Site Editor

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