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Upriver Coho Surge Allows More Tribal Commercial Fishing Days Above Bonneville
October 17, 2008, Columbia Basin Bulletin
With the upriver coho salmon run still surging and fishing interest still high, tribal fishers will again spread their nets next week in Columbia River reservoirs above Bonneville Dam.

The Columbia River Compact on Thursday approved a 3 1/3-day tribal commercial fishery from 6 a.m. Monday through 6 p.m. Thursday. The Compact, which sets Columbia River mainstem commercial fisheries, is made up of representatives of the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife department directors.

The fishery will be the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakima tribes' ninth fishery of the fall season. Fish continue to be available for sale to the public "over the bank" at numerous locations upstream of Bonneville.

Tribal coho harvest through this week totals an estimated 18,620 to date with more than 3,000 caught during the week of Oct. 7. The coho catch expectation is approximately 2,700 for next week.

The tribal request for next week's fishery notes that they are well within Endangered Species Act limits on the harvest of protected upriver steelhead and bright fall chinook salmon. The treaty harvest is projected to total 42,572 "upriver brights" through Oct. 23. Based on the in-season run size forecast for URBs, that catch would equate to a 19 percent harvest rate. Under a new management agreement between states and tribes the harvest limit is 27 percent.

The tribes estimate they will have harvested 18,295 B-Index steelhead or 18.4 percent of the run through Oct. 23. The harvest limit is 20 percent.

The fall fisheries will have netted a total of 107,546 chinook in total this year, according to tribal estimates. The total steelhead catch is expected to be 24,645.

The tribal request notes that the upriver chinook and steelhead counts at Bonneville are dropping quickly, as are fall chinook counts, so few additional impacts are likely to occur next week.

The tribes will also continue to allow sales of platform and hook and line caught fish for the time being, but may discontinue sales if they decide to issue any late season subsistence gillnet permits.

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