Pacific Fisheries Management Council releases options for 2010 salmon season
It’s still too soon to say how the 2010 salmon season will turn out. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council is considering options ranging from entirely closed to "substantial" seasons
California and Central Oregon
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.
Sport season options
California ocean sport fishing options for the Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey areas range from entirely closed to nearly full summer seasons with April 3 openings, although there are options to raise size limits from 20 to 24 inches in the San Francisco and Monterey areas to protect ESA-listed Sacramento Winter Chinook.
Chinook ocean sport fishing options for the Eureka, Crescent City, and Brookings areas have start dates ranging from late May to early July, and all options run through Labor Day.
For the Tillamook, Newport, Coos Bay, and Brookings areas, recreational options include mark-selective coho fishing seasons starting in June or July and running into August, with quotas of between 25,000 and 35,000, less than half of the 2009 quota. Chinook fishery options range from two to six months.
Commercial season options
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.
Background for area south of Cape Falcon
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.
All Council meetings are open to the public.
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.
On the Web:
• Detailed options for 2010 salmon management will be posted on the Council website when they are finalized this afternoon (Thursday, March 11)
• Pacific Fishery Management Council: http://www.pcouncil.org
• Geographical points used in salmon management: http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/geosalmon.pdf
• Explanation of common terms used in salmon management: http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/com_terms_salmon.pdf
• Description of 2010 salmon management process: http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/current-season-management/salmon-2009-preseason-process-work-sessions-and-hearings/
• Sacramento River fall Chinook escapement (number of salmon returning to spawn), 1970-2008 (raw numbers): http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Sacramento-escapement-1970-2008-numbers.pdf
• Sacramento River fall Chinook escapement (number of salmon returning to spawn), 1970-2008 (graph): http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Sacramento-escapement-1970-2008-graph.pdf