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Improved Sacramento River Chinook Allow First Major California, Oregon Ocean Fishery Since 2007
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 (PST)

The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Wednesday adopted a set of ocean salmon seasons that it says provides recreational and commercial opportunities up and down the West Coast while still achieving conservation goals for a multitude of individual salmon stocks and providing for escapement for freshwater fisheries.


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


“We are pleased to see that Sacramento River fall chinook salmon have rebounded nicely for California and Oregon fisheries, and we will continue to enjoy good salmon opportunities off the Washington coast this summer,” said Council Chairman Mark Cedergreen.


--North of Cape Falcon


Washington and northern Oregon fisheries north of Cape Falcon (near Manzanita in northern Oregon) depend largely on Columbia River stocks. Columbia River fall chinook returns in 2010 were above average, and 2011 forecasts are similar. Columbia River hatchery coho returns are below average and less than 2010 returns, but Washington coastal and Puget Sound stocks are above average.


North of Cape Falcon, there is an overall non-Indian total allowable catch of 64,600 chinook and 80,000 marked hatchery coho.


A mark-selective recreational chinook season north of Cape Falcon begins June 18 and ends June 25 or when 4,800 marked chinook have been caught. The chinook season will be open seven days per week, two fish per day, with a 24-inch total length minimum size limit.


All salmon seasons north of Falcon are divided into four sub-areas. Seasons begin June 26 and end in mid- to late-September.


For details, please see the season descriptions on the Council

website at


Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional chinook seasons in the May-June timeframe and all-salmon seasons in the July-to-September timeframe. The chinook quota of 30,900 is lower than the 2010 quota of 56,000. The coho quota of 12,800 is similar to 2010’s quota of 11,800.


Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar to recent years, although chinook quotas are lower than in 2010.


-- California and Oregon South of Cape Falcon


Greatly improved abundance of Sacramento River fall chinook will fuel the first substantial ocean salmon fisheries off California and Oregon since 2007. Fisheries south of Cape Falcon are supported by Sacramento River fall chinook.


In 2008 and 2009, poor Sacramento returns led to the largest ocean salmon fishery closure on record.


The abundance forecast of Sacramento River fall chinook in 2011 is 730,000, far above the number needed for optimum spawning this fall (122,000-180,000 fish).


The Klamath River fall chinook forecast for 2011 is near normal. The Oregon Coast natural coho forecast in 2011 is about 250,000, well above the 15 year average.


Recreational fisheries in southern Oregon and California are for chinook only and run from May 14 through Labor Day weekend in the Brookings/Eureka/Crescent City area, and from April 2 to Oct. 30 or Sept. 18 in areas further south. The minimum size limit will be 24 inches for chinook coastwide.


Recreational fisheries in central Oregon will allow chinook retention and run from March 15 through Sept. 30. Coho fisheries consist of a mark-selective coho quota fishery that will open in early July and a non-mark selective coho quota fishery in early September.


Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain., Ore., will be open from April 15 through July 9, July 17 through Aug. 31, and during the month of October. Humbug Mountain is located about six miles south of Port Orford.


Fisheries in the Humbug Mountain to California border area will be open in May, June, July, and August, with chinook quotas in June (1,500), July (1,200), and August (1,000). Fisheries from the California border to Humboldt South Jetty will be open July 2-20 with a 1,400 chinook quota and August 1-15 with a 1,000 chinook quota.


Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (in the Fort Bragg area), commercial chinook salmon fisheries will be open July 23-27, July 29-August 29, and Sept. 1-30,

seven days per week.


In the area from Point Arena to Point Sur (Monterey), the season will be open May 1-31; June 25-July 5; July 9-27 (Saturday to Wednesday); July 29-Aug. 29; and during the entire month of September. From Point Sur to the Mexico border, the chinook season will be open as above, plus June 1-24 but closed in September. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro, open Monday to Friday October 3-14.


The Council developed the management measures after several weeks spent reviewing three season alternatives. The review process included input by federal and state 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 before taking final action.


In addition, the coastal states will decide on compatible freshwater fishery regulations at their respective commission hearings.


PFMC 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 miles offshore of the U.S. coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.


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