Posts Tagged ‘Salmon’

West Coast Salmon Season Dates Set for 2017

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Sacramento, Ca. – The Pacific Fishery Management Council today adopted ocean salmon season recommendations that provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific coast. However, due to low forecasts, several areas are closed this year, and the open areas are significantly constrained. The adopted salmon fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington do achieve conservation goals for the numerous individual salmon stocks on the West Coast..

The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1, 2017.

“It has been another challenging year for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders and the public as we strive to balance fishing opportunities on harvestable stocks of Chinook and coho with the severe conservation needs we are facing on salmon stocks, both north and south of Cape Falcon,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy.  “The Council has recommended commercial and recreational ocean salmon seasons in Washington, Oregon, and California this year that provide important protections for stocks of concern including Klamath River fall Chinook, Washington coastal coho, and Puget Sound Chinook.”

“We have made the tough decisions and implemented fishery restrictions to protect salmon stocks while providing at least some opportunity for commercial recreational, and tribal ocean salmon fishing along much of the west coast,” said Council Chair Herb Pollard.

Washington and Northern Oregon (North of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (near Nehalem in northern Oregon) depend largely on Columbia River Chinook and coho stocks. Columbia River fall Chinook returns are expected to be healthy in 2017, and Columbia River coho are expected to return at reduced but moderate levels in 2017. However, some coastal Washington and Puget Sound coho abundance is reduced from recent years, and some wild coho stocks are expected to return at very low levels. In response, the Council has been challenged with shaping fisheries to provide access to relatively abundant Chinook stocks while protecting natural coho populations.

North of Cape Falcon, there is an overall non-Indian total allowable catch of 90,000 Chinook coastwide (compared to 70,000 last year) and 42,000 marked hatchery coho in (compared to 18,900 last year).

Recreational Fisheries          

The recreational fishery north of Cape Falcon does not include a mark-selective Chinook season this year, but opens to all salmon on June 24 in most areas (July 1in Westport) and ends September 4 or when Chinook or coho quotas are reached. Recreational fisheries in all port areas will have access to 45,000 Chinook (compared to 35,000 Chinook last year), and a marked coho quota of 42,000 (compared to 18,900 last year). For details, please see the season descriptions on the Council website at

Commercial Fisheries

Tribal and non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries are designed to provide harvest opportunity on strong Chinook returns primarily destined for the Columbia River while avoiding coho stocks of concern. Coho retention is allowed in commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon this year, which is an improvement over the non-retention regulations from last year; however, the coho quotas are very low in 2017.

Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional, but reduced, Chinook seasons in the spring (May-June) and summer season (intermittent openings during July through September). The Chinook quota of 27,000 in the spring is greater than the 2016 quota of 19,100.  The summer season quotas include 18,000 Chinook and 5,600 coho.

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar in structure to past years, with quotas that include 40,000 Chinook and 12,500 coho.

California and Oregon South of Cape Falcon, Oregon

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to protect Klamath River fall Chinook, and south of Point Arena (in northern California), they are also affected by the need to protect Sacramento River winter Chinook. Returns of spawning Klamath River fall Chinook are projected to be the lowest on record in 2017 due to drought, disease, poor ocean conditions, and other issues.  At the same time, the Council must protect Sacramento River winter Chinook, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.  Because both of these fish intermix with other stocks in the ocean, fisheries targeting more abundant stocks must be constrained.

Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries off the central Oregon coast will allow Chinook retention from March 15 through October 31. Coho fisheries consist of a mark-selective quota fishery of 18,000 in mid-summer (compared to 26,000 last year) and a non-mark-selective quota fishery of 6,000 in September (compared to 7,500 last year), both open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain.

The Brookings/Crescent City/Eureka areas are closed for the entire season to conserve Klamath River fall Chinook, which are most abundant in these areas.  Fisheries further south all opened on April 1. In the Fort Bragg area, the season will close during June, July, and half of August, then reopen through November 12.  In the San Francisco area, the season will close during the first half of May and reopen through October 31.  Salmon fishing will remain open through July 15 in the Monterey Bay area and through May 31 for areas south of Monterey Bay.

Commercial Fisheries

Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to the Florence South Jetty, Oregon open on April 15 and will run through July 31 with intermittent closures to reduce impacts on Klamath fall Chinook. This area will also be open in September and October. Fisheries from the Florence South Jetty to Horse Mountain, California will be closed for the entire season to reduce impacts on Klamath River fall Chinook.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (in the Fort Bragg area), there will be a 3,000 Chinook quota ocean fishery during the month of September, after 2017 Klamath River fall Chinook spawners have entered the Klamath River.

In the area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco), the season will be open for most of August and all of September. From Pigeon Point to the Mexico border (Monterey), the Chinook season will be open in May and June. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro (subset of the San Francisco area), open October 2 to 6 and October 9 to 13.

Management Process

The Council developed the management measures after several weeks spent reviewing three season alternatives. The review process included input by Federal state, and tribal fishery scientists and fishing industry members; public testimony, and three public hearings in coastal communities. The Council received additional scientific information and took public testimony at its April Council meeting before taking final action. The decision will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval and implementation.

In addition, the coastal states will decide on compatible state waters  fishery regulations at their respective Commission hearings.

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.


Other links:

Description of 2017 salmon management process:

Fact sheets:


Salmon Season Alternatives for 2012 Released

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Sacramento, CA. – Encouraged by predictions of plentiful salmon returns along the West Coast, the Pacific Fishery Management Council released three alternatives for managing salmon fisheries today. After hearing public comment on the alternatives, the Council will make a final recommendation at their next meeting in Seattle on April 1-6.

“It is great to see such a nice rebound for California salmon populations and the prospect of good fishing in 2012,” said Council chairman Dan Wolford.

Salmon fisheries in California and Oregon look particularly promising, due primarily to good river conditions, and excellent ocean conditions, for salmon.  Sacramento, Klamath, and Rogue River Chinook returns are expected to be significantly higher than during the past several years, and Oregon Coast coho also have a strong forecast; however, fishery alternatives are necessarily constrained to protect Endangered Species Act-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook and Columbia River coho stocks.  North of Cape Falcon, returns look similar to last year.


North of Cape Falcon, fisheries are expected to be similar to last year. The Oregon Production Index coho forecast is 632,700 fish, about the same as last year.  Columbia River hatchery coho returns in 2011 were larger than forecast, but still below average.  Columbia River Chinook returns were generally lower than forecast, but above historical averages.

About 742,500 summer and fall Chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River compared to an actual return in 2011 of 684,400. The 2012 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 coho is similar to last year’s actual return and the highest forecast since 1996.

Washington coast coho stock forecasts are generally higher than last year, although Puget Sound coho forecasts are generally lower.

Sport Season Alternatives

Ocean sport fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon in Oregon and off the Washington coast have seasons similar to 2011, with mark-selective coho quotas ranging from 54,600 to 71,400 that start in late June and run into September (last year, the quota was 67,200 marked coho).  For Chinook salmon, quotas range from 35,500 Chinook to 51,500 Chinook (last year, the quota was 64,600 Chinook).  Two alternatives include a mark-selective Chinook fishery in June.

Commercial and Tribal 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 32,500-47,500, greater than the 2011 quota of 30,900. The marked coho quotas range from 10,400 to 13,600 (compared to last year’s quota of 12,800).

Tribal ocean fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon have Chinook quotas ranging from 40,000 to 55,000 and coho quotas ranging from 40,000 to 55,000, similar to last year’s quotas of 41,000 Chinook and 42,000 coho.


In the Klamath River, biologists are forecasting four times more salmon than last year – and an astounding 15 times more than in 2006.  The ocean salmon population is estimated to be 1.6 million adult Klamath River fall Chinook, compared to last year’s forecast of 371,100.  This estimate is based largely on the 85,840 two-year-old salmon (jacks) that returned to the Klamath in 2011.  This is the highest number of jacks to return since at least 1978, when recordkeeping began.

Sacramento stocks are also looking better, with a conservative forecast of ocean abundance of 819,400 Sacramento River fall Chinook, up from 729,000 last year.  Adult spawners in the Sacramento system are expected to be at least 436,000.  The spawning escapement objective is 122,000 – 180,000 adult spawners, and the 2012 annual catch limit is at least 245,820 spawners[1].

These returns are particularly important when seen in the context of the last several years. Klamath and Sacramento stocks drive ocean fishing seasons off California and Oregon. In 2008 and 2009, poor Sacramento returns led to the largest fishery closures on record.  In 2010, returns improved, allowing limited commercial fishing season off California.  In 2011, there were commercial fishing seasons in Oregon and California areas at various times between May 1 and September 30.  Commercial fishermen have noted that because of the series of poor years, much of the capacity to fish commercially – especially in California – has been lost.

Sport Season Alternatives

Oregon ocean recreational alternatives south of Cape Falcon open for Chinook March 15 and run through September or October.  Coho fishery alternatives include mark-selective fisheries in July as far south as the Oregon/California border and non-mark-selective coho fisheries in September down to Humbug Mountain.

Ocean Chinook fishing alternatives in the Brookings/Crescent City/Eureka area open in May and continue into September.

California ocean sport fishing alternatives generally start April 7 and run through October or November from Fort Bragg south, but size limits vary in the San Francisco and Monterey areas to protect ESA-listed Sacramento winter-run Chinook.

Commercial Season Options

Commercial Chinook salmon season alternatives in the Tillamook, Newport, and Coos Bay area open April 1 and run through October.  Oregon season options in the Brookings area open April 1 and run through August or September, with monthly quota fisheries starting in June.

California alternatives in Crescent City/Eureka have quota fisheries in late September or are closed.  In Fort Bragg, commercial alternatives open in July or August and run through September.  In the San Francisco and Monterey areas, alternatives open May 1 and run through September with some closures in June.  Along the south-central coast, season alternatives are open from May 1 through September 30.

The Council also included alternatives for to collect genetic stock identification samples from research fisheries in closed times and areas.  All fish caught in research fisheries would have to be released unharmed after collection of biological samples.

Management Process

Public hearings to receive input on the alternatives are scheduled for March 26 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon; and for March 27 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 1 in Seattle, Washington.

At its April 1-6 meeting in Seattle, 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, and audio is streamed online (for information on how to hear the online audio, go to

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.


[1] The conservation goal, or escapement goal, is the optimal number of adult fish returning to spawn in order to maximize the production of the stock. The annual catch limit is the number of spawners associated with preventing overfishing on an annual basis.


Elwha Dam removal begins on Saturday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The process of removing Washington’s Elwha and Glines Canyon dams begins this Saturday in Olympic National Park. George Pess of the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center gave a presentation to the Council’s Habitat Committee yesterday, including a nifty animation showing how the Elwha and Glines dams will be removed.

For more information, see the following links:


Council Develops Three Salmon Alternatives for 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has developed three West Coast salmon management alternatives for 2011See the press release here.

Please visit the Current Salmon Season Management webpage to view the alternatives.

A final alternative for salmon seasons will be chosen at the Council’s April meeting in Costa Mesa, California.  Final action is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12.  A detailed  schedule for 2011 salmon management is available here.


Council Comments on Mitchell Act Hatcheries

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The Council has written a letter to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the management of Mitchell Act hatcheries, which were built to compensate for the impacts of the Columbia Basin hydropower system on salmon and steelhead.  The Council sent a letter on NMFS’ draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on Columbia basin hatchery operations and funding to NMFS Regional Administrator Will Stelle on Monday.

The NMFS process will affect future policy direction for salmon production in the Columbia Basin. The Council discussed the DEIS at its September and November meetings, heard public testimony and feedback from its advisory bodies, and drafted a letter containing several critiques of the DEIS, as well as specific recommendations for changes and updates in the DEIS prior to it being used as the foundation for decision making. In particular, the Council noted that the preferred alternative did not meet the Mitchell Act’s original intent and purpose, which was to address the environmental impacts and loss of salmon and steelhead spawning habitat and productivity due to the Columbia River hydropower system. The Council recommended that alternatives include options for increased hatchery production, which the Council believes can be done in a manner consistent with wild stock rebuilding, given current technologies and additional funding. The Council urged NMFS to maintain its commitments to the people and communities that depend on Columbia Basin salmon by continuing to support Mitchell Act hatcheries.

The letter is available here.


Salmon Amendment Committee Work Session April 1, 2010 (LOCATION CHANGE)

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Ad Hoc Salmon Amendment Committee (SAC) will hold a meeting to develop draft alternatives and plan analyses for an amendment to the Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to address the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) requirements for annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM). This meeting of the SAC is open to the public.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently published amended guidelines for National Standard 1 (NS1) of the MSA to provide guidance on how to comply with new ACL and AM requirements. The NS1 guidelines include recommendations for establishing several related reference points to ensure scientific and management uncertainty are accounted for when management measures are established.


The meeting will be held at the following location:

Embassy Suites Hotel (adjacent to PFMC Parking Lot)
Pine Room II
7900 NE 82nd Avenue

For more information on the April 1, 2010, Salmon Amendment Committee work session, please contact Mr. Chuck Tracy at (503) 820-2280 ext. 415 or toll free 1-866-806-7204.


Historical Data Document for Salmon Fisheries Updated

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The Historical Data Document for salmon fisheries and runs was just updated with preliminary 2009 information, and most 2008 data was finalized. This document has four parts: (1) ocean effort and landings, (2) freshwater spawning escapement and catch, (3) ocean fishing regulations, and (4) economic information on salmon fisheries. The document provides the same information as Appendices A-D in the review of 2009 ocean salmon fisheries, but includes individual years as well as five-year averages for earlier years, and provides the data in excel spreadsheets so folks can more easily download and manipulate data for their own purposes. Visit the Salmon Historical Document webpage.