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Pacific Fishery Management Council NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Contact: Robin Ehlke, Salmon Staff Officer, robin.ehlke@noaa.gov


Mike Burner, Deputy Director, mike.burner@noaa.gov
Council Office 503-820-2280, Toll Free: 1-866-806-7204

PACIFIC FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL RELEASES ALTERNATIVES FOR 2019


WEST COAST OCEAN SALMON FISHERIES

Vancouver, Washington – The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted three


alternative season structures for 2019 ocean salmon fisheries off of Washington, Oregon
and California today for public review. The Council will make a final decision on
salmon seasons at its meeting in Rohnert Park, California, on April 11-15. Detailed
information about season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits for all three
alternatives are available on the Council’s website at www.pcouncil.org.

“Although some forecasts are up over last year, this year’s salmon runs are still
challenging for ocean fishermen and managers,” said Council Executive Director Chuck
Tracy. “In the north, conservation requirements for Fraser River (Canada) and other
natural coho runs, as well as lower Columbia River natural tule fall Chinook, will
constrain fisheries *. In the south, we need to protect Sacramento River fall and winter
Chinook, as well as California Coastal Chinook.”

Northern Oregon and Washington (north of Cape Falcon)

*
Tule Chinook generally spawn lower in the Columbia River than salmon that continue to
migrate up the mainstem.
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Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to reduce
catch of lower Columbia natural tule Chinook and coho stocks of concern. Additionally,
three stocks of coho (Queets River, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Snohomish) remain
categorized as overfished, which is also a concern when structuring 2019 fisheries.

Sport season alternatives

Ocean sport fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon in Oregon and off the Washington
coast include Chinook recreational quotas ranging from 22,500 to 32,500, compared to
27,500 in 2018. For coho, recreational quotas range from 100,000 to 205,000 hatchery
coho, an increase from 2018. Starting dates range from June 15 to June 29, and in all
alternatives, recreational fisheries are scheduled to run through mid-to-late September.
Both coho and Chinook retention are allowed in all alternatives.

Commercial season alternatives


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 22,500 to 32,500, compared to 27,500 in 2018. Coho quotas in the
commercial fishery alternatives range from 5,600 to 32,800 marked coho, compared to
5,600 in to 2018.

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon


Chinook and coho quotas for tribal ocean fishery alternatives range from 25,000 to
45,000 for Chinook salmon (compared to 40,000 in 2018), and from 35,000 to 65,000 coho
(compared to 12,500 coho in 2018). Seasons open May 1 and run through September 15.

California and Southern Oregon (south of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon are limited by the need to reduce catch of Oregon Coast
natural coho, California coastal Chinook, Sacramento River fall Chinook, and
Sacramento River winter Chinook. Klamath River fall Chinook and Sacramento River
fall Chinook contribute significantly to ocean harvest, and currently remain categorized
as overfished. Both stocks are projected to meet their spawning escapement objectives
under this year’s management alternatives.

Sport season alternatives


Chinook fishing in the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay areas all open March 15 and
run continuously through October 31.
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Oregon ocean recreational alternatives include mark-selective coho fishing seasons
starting in late June and running through mid-August or September in the area south of
Cape Falcon. Quotas range from 80,000 to 105,000 marked coho (compared to 35,000 in
2018). In addition, non-mark-selective fisheries are proposed for the area between Cape
Falcon and Humbug Mountain in September, with quotas of 8,000 to 10,000 coho
(compared to last year’s 3,500).

All alternatives include proposed fisheries from late May through late August/early
September in the Klamath Management Zone in both California and Oregon.

Ocean sport fishing below Horse Mountain, California will see increased opportunity
compared to last year due to some improved forecasts. Alternatives for 2019 fisheries
were structured to target spawning escapements in excess of what is required under the
Salmon Fishery Management Plan in an effort to rebuild Sacramento River and Klamath
River fall Chinook.

Commercial season alternatives


Commercial season alternatives south of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain are
constrained this year to protect Sacramento and California coastal Chinook. Chinook
salmon seasons are open late April or May through October, with closed periods in May
through August.

The commercial alternatives in both the California and Oregon sectors of the Klamath
Management Zone are provided primarily by a range of monthly Chinook quotas
between June and August, with some additional time for the Oregon sector in May.

The alternatives for commercial seasons south of the Klamath Management Zone vary
considerably, with constraints primarily intended to protect Sacramento River fall
Chinook and California Coastal Chinook. In general, the commercial alternatives in
these management areas (Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey) provide similar or
increased levels of opportunity compared to last year.

Concerns Regarding Southern Resident Killer Whales

At the Vancouver meeting, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced plans
to look further into the effects of Council-area fisheries on southern resident killer
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whales, which are listed as endangered. The Council will work collaboratively with
NMFS on this issue beginning in 2019.

Council Chair Phil Anderson, who also serves on the Governor’s Southern Resident
Killer Whale Task Force, said, “I don’t think there’s any question that southern resident
killer whales are in peril. Pollution, noise disturbance, and lack of prey are the main
factors believed to be responsible for the decline. It will be important for the Pacific
Council to understand the impacts of the prey base associated with their needs when
they consider seasons in April. We would like to discuss these issues with NOAA
before we make our final recommendations.”

Management Process

Public hearings to receive input on the alternatives are scheduled for March 25 in
Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon, and for March 26 in Ukiah, California.
The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, revise preliminary
decisions, and choose a final alternative at its meeting April 11-15 in Rohnert Park,
California.

The Council will forward its final season recommendations to National Marine
Fisheries Service for its approval and implementation by 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.

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On the Web

• Pacific Fishery Management Council: http://www.pcouncil.org

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• Draft Alternatives for 2019 salmon management:
http://tinyurl.com/PFMCsalmon2019
• Final Alternatives and analyses of the biological and socioeconomic impacts will
be posted on the Council web page in the near future (on or about March 23).
• Description of 2019 salmon management process:
http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/current-season-management/
• Fact sheet: Salmon
• Fact sheet: Geography of Salmon
• Fact sheet: Common Terms Used in Salmon Management