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Federal fisheries managers prescribe final 2007 salmon quotas

 by Nathan Rushton, 4/6/2007 The Eureka Reporter

It may not be what fishermen were hoping for, but there will likely be some commercial salmon season off North Coast waters this year.

And almost anything would be better than last year’s season.

Following several months of public input meetings, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council voted to approve the final measures for the 2007 commercial salmon season at the conclusion of its weeklong meeting in Seattle Friday.

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils, established by Congress in 1976, and is responsible for managing fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.

In reaching its choice for which of the three management options it preferred, the council analyzed the California Department of Fish and Game’s scientific estimates of how many salmon were out at sea, as well as how many spawning fish were expected to return to the area’s rivers.

In a meeting at the Humboldt Area Foundation last month, CDFG fisheries biologists said vital Central Valley salmon stocks were at good levels and that 3-year-old salmon from the Klamath River are at a near-record high, which was a tenfold increase of what was expected.

However, the numbers of 4-year-old fish were estimated to be the lowest in decades.

For Eureka-based fisherman Paul Pellegrini, whose family has fished from Humboldt Bay for nearly a century, all three of the management options the PFMC were weighing “sucked.”

Despite the optimistic estimates for salmon returns made earlier this year by Fish and Game, Pellegrini said the harvest quotas weren’t that good.

“If I had to choose one, Option Two gives the most opportunity for fishing,” Pellegrini said.

For the most part, the council adopted the bulk of Option 2 measures for North Coast waters, which represented the middle ground of management restrictions.

While Pellegrini said he has been accustomed to being able to fish south of Fort Bragg in May and will be allowed to do so under the adopted measures, fuel costs of $3 per gallon don’t make the venture “pencil out.”

But while he feels disgruntled about all of the options, or lack thereof, Pellegrini said the season was shaping up to be better than last year’s season.

In 2006, the PFMC adopted the most restrictive management measures ever for the West Coast commercial salmon fishery as a result of dismal returns of Klamath River salmon, which virtually shut down salmon fishing along a 700-mile stretch of West Coast waters.

Commercial salmon troll measures for North Coast zones

Oregon/California border to Humboldt Bay South Jetty — Chinook quota of 6,000

Sept. 10 through Sept. 30 All salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length. Landing and possession limit of 30 fish per vessel per day.

Humboldt South Jetty to Horse Mountain


Horse Mountain to Point Arena (Fort Bragg) — Chinook quota of 2,000

April 9 through April 27; open Monday to Friday Aug. 1-29; Sept. 1-30 All salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 27 inches total length in April and September; 28 inches total length in August.

Point Arena (Fort Bragg) to Pigeon point (San Francisco)

May 9-31; July 1 through Aug. 29; Sept. 1-30 All salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 27 inches total length in May and September; 28 inches total length in July and August.

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