[env-trinity] CBB: PFMC Report Shows Potential For Good Ocean Fishing With Strong Fall Chinook Returns In Calif., NW

Sari Sommarstrom sari at sisqtel.net
Fri Mar 1 17:08:35 PST 2013

THE COLUMBIA BASIN BULLETIN: Weekly Fish and Wildlife News


March 1, 2013, Issue No. 655


PFMC Report Shows Potential For Good Ocean Fishing With Strong Fall Chinook
Returns In Calif., NW


Fishing prospects this summer off the coasts of California, Oregon and
Washington would appear to be quite rosy, due to forecasts of large runs of
fall chinook headed to the Columbia River, the Klamath River and other
spawning destinations.


Those forecasts are assembled in a new report made available this week by
the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. "Preseason Report I: Stock
Abundance Analysis and Environmental Assessment Part 1 for 2013 Ocean Salmon
Fishery Regulations" can be found at:



The report is the second in an annual series of four reports prepared by the
Salmon Technical Team of the PFMC to document and help guide commercial and
sport salmon fishery management off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and
California. The new report focuses on chinook, coho, and pink salmon stocks
that have been important in determining Council fisheries in recent years,
and on stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act with established
National Marine Fisheries Service ESA consultation standards.  

Columbia River fall chinook stocks typically form the largest contributing
stock group to Council-directed chinook fisheries north of Cape Falcon,
which is located on the north Oregon coast. That fishing zone stretches
north to the Washington-British Columbia border.


The preliminary forecast for 2013 upriver bright fall chinook ocean
escapement is 432,500 adults, about 145 percent of last year's return and
about 160 percent of the recent 10-year average of 270,880, according to the
PFMC report. The URBs are fish headed to destinations upstream of Bonneville


"This forecast is similar to the record high forecast in 1988 and slightly
higher than the record high return to the Columbia River of 420,700 in 1987.
This forecast is well above the FMP SMSY conservation objective of 39,625
natural area spawners in the Hanford Reach, Yakima River, and areas above
Priest Rapids Dam, and should allow opportunity for both ocean and in-river


"The preliminary forecast for 2013 ocean escapement of ESA-listed Snake
River wild fall Chinook is 31,600, nearly double last year's preliminary
return estimate of 16,983, which is a record high since the construction of
dams in the lower Snake River."


Another Columbia River chinook stock that can limit fisheries is the Lower
River Hatchery stock. But the forecast looks strong.


"The preliminary forecast for 2013 ocean escapement of LRH fall Chinook is
for a return of 88,000 adults, about 104 percent of last year's return and
101 percent of the recent 10-year average of 86,700.


"Based on this abundance forecast, the total allowable LCR natural tule
exploitation rate for 2013 fisheries is no greater than 41.0 percent under
the matrix developed by the Tule Chinook Workgroup in 2011, which is used by
NMFS in developing ESA guidance for this stock," the report says.


"This is the highest exploitation rate allowed under the recommended


Returns to the Sacramento and Klamath rivers are also expected to be fairly
strong. The forecast for the Sacramento is for a return of 834,200 fall
chinook, which would be slightly more than the 2012 total of 819,400.
Returns to the Sacramento have shot up since a record low return of 54,560
in 2008. 


The Klamath forecast is for a return of 727,700 fall chinook spawners.
That's down from last year's record total of 1,651,600 but would be the
second highest return during the 2005-2013 period. The lowest return during
that period was 110,000 in 2006.


The report will be formally reviewed during the Council's March 6-11 meeting
in Tacoma, Wash. During the meeting the PFMC and its advisory bodies will
address issues related to salmon, Pacific halibut, groundfish, coastal
pelagic species, highly migratory species, and habitat matters.


For more information, including a meeting agenda, go to:



Key agenda items include Council considerations to:


-- adopt alternatives for the 2013 ocean salmon fisheries for public review.

-- adopt public review options for 2013 incidental catch recommendations for
Pacific halibut in salmon troll and sablefish fisheries.

-- consider status determination criteria for data moderate groundfish

-- adopt a range of alternatives for analysis under fishery management plan
Amendment 24, improvements to the groundfish management process.

-- consider inseason adjustments to the current groundfish fishery.

-- approve an exempted fishing permit in the coastal pelagic species

-- review a swordfish fishery management report on changes to the Pacific
leatherback turtle conservation area and take limits.

-- consider recommendations on international management activities
concerning albacore and bluefin tuna fisheries.


The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery
management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and
Management Act of 1976.

With jurisdiction over the 317,690 square mile exclusive economic zone off
Washington, Oregon and California


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