Officials are considering shutting down the recreational and commercial Coho salmon and Chinook fishery for this year’s fishing season, as the poor conditions of the ocean has reduced the Coho salmon runs as well as the Chinook’s.
In order to save Coho salmon and Chinook populations, state and tribal fishery managers have proposed three preventive ways for no-contract ocean salmon fisheries suggesting the expected low salmon influxes.
This preventive measure could lead to a stocking up of the depleted numbers of both Coho salmon and Chinook. Apparently, this year’s fishing season may be over just before it starts. However, the final decision on the preventive measures proposed by the state and tribal fishery managers will be made by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) at its April conference.
In addition, a public hearing is scheduled for March 28 in Westport to review all three alternatives and decide which one suits better to the situation. The event will take place at the Chateau Westport in the Beach Room at 7 p.m., according to The Seattle Times.
The alternatives include establishing fishing seasons in ocean waters up to 200 miles off the pacific coast. It’s expected for the commission to consider all three options proposed by fishery managers, including a coast-wide closure in Washington.
Tribal fisheries under menace
It’s important to mention that two options would permit some salmon fishing this year, which is necessary for some tribes due to its delimited fishing areas. Yet the other remaining option would close all recreational and commercial ocean fisheries for both fish.
Tribes will have the most difficult time if this last alternative is approved by the PFMC at its summit in April, as they couldn’t fish in another place given their legally designated fishing areas. Tribal and state fishery managers must have a full range of options to shape possible fisheries over the next month, according to Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that. Our cultures, treaty rights and economies depend on salmon,” said Loomis. “But the resource must come first. We face an extraordinary conservation challenge this year.”
In a staggering low record salmon occurrence, only 2,500 Coho fish will arrive this year in Queens when a total of almost 6,000 is necessary for a fishery to be fully operational. Indeed, this year’s low salmon income will take its toll on the tribal and state fisheries; however, it seems, as they will have to deal with a conservation challenge in order to survive.
Source: The Seattle Times