WASHINGTON (CN) – There will be commercial salmon fishing off the west coast of the United States, but it will be strictly monitored and limited, according to the National Fisheries Management Service which released its approval of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s 2010 Ocean Salmon Fisheries management plan.
In 2008 and 2009, the commercial salmon fleet essentially was cut out of the harvest, as the stock of all Pacific Salmon were so low that only limited recreational fishing and fishing protected by treaty with tribal governments was allowed.
However, California’s commercial catch still will be severely constrained compared to fisheries conducted prior to 2006, because the Sacramento River fall Chinook runs are projected to be small.
Two 4-day openings in July south of Horse Mountain represent the only opportunity for areas south to Point Arena.
Much of the commercial opportunity in California will occur in the Fort Bragg area with quota fisheries in late July and August. The July and August quota fisheries represent the first time Fort Bragg will be the only area open to commercial fishing in California. The California fleet will be excluded from the fall Klamath River fall Chinook runs.
Oregon fisheries also are limited, but will include both time/area and quota fisheries for Klamath River fall Chinook salmon. No fall commercial fisheries, those running from September through December, were established south of Cape Falcon in 2010 to rebuild the Sacramento River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook runs after an overall reverse in relative abundance from 2009 of high abundance of hatchery coho and lower abundance of tule fall Chinook.
In 2010, allowable catch of Chinook was substantially increased due to the strong abundance of tule Chinook from the Spring Creek Hatchery. Non-Indian commercial fisheries included a Chinook directed fishery in May and June that is open seven days per week with no landing limit for the first time since 2004.
Recreational fisheries, those open to private individuals with fishing licenses will occur in California south of Horse Mountain and the Klamath River Management Zone fishery will open on Memorial Day. Recreational fisheries in all California areas will continue through Labor Day, with Tuesday and Wednesday closures south of Point Arena to help spawning in the Sacramento River fall Chinook run.
The fisheries north of Cape Falcon reflect the overall higher abundance of Columbia River hatchery tule fall Chinook, and lower abundance of hatchery coho. The recreational fisheries include a June Chinook fishery when only hatchery marked salmon will be allowed. The northern Washington fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Hood Canal will be limited due to reduced coho production from river systems and hatcheries on the Olympic peninsula.
The Indian treaty fishing quota for Chinook is higher than in the last few years and coho quotas are lower reflecting both the increased abundance of Columbia River hatchery tule Chinook and lower abundance of hatchery coho.