|SALEM, Ore. – The Pacific
Fishery Management Council will host a public hearing in
Coos Bay on March 30 to review options for the upcoming
ocean salmon season off the Oregon coast.
In meetings last
week, the PFMC announced the strongest hatchery coho
abundance forecast since 2001, raising prospects of a banner
year for sport fishermen along the coast.
A total of 1.3 million adult coho are forecast for the
Oregon coast and Columbia River this year, up from 290,000
forecasted in 2008.
The council, which includes fishery managers from Oregon,
Washington and California, adopted three ocean
salmon-fishing options that will be submitted for public
review and comment before ocean salmon-fishing seasons are
finalized at a meeting in San Francisco scheduled for April
The public meeting in Coos Bay on March 30 will be held
at the 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel.
PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean water
three to 200 miles off the Oregon, Washington and California
coasts, last year adopted relatively meager recreational
ocean fishing quotas of 10,180 marked coho salmon in the
Columbia River Area and 9,000 marked coho south of Cape
Falcon to the Oregon/California border. This year’s
recreational marked coho options for ocean waters off Oregon
are significantly larger and include the following catch
Columbia River Ocean Area (Leadbetter
Pt., WA to Cape Falcon, OR)
Cape Falcon to the
All three proposals represent a substantial improvement
in fishing opportunities available to Oregon anglers,
according to Ron Boyce, Technical Resources Program manager
for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We are looking at the potential of a phenomenal sport
coho fishery this year,” said Boyce. “The upper end of the
proposed harvest quota is the highest we’ve had since the
coho marked selective fishery program began in 1999. I’m
excited about that. This could be a real boon to coastal
In 2008, poor fall chinook salmon returns on the
Sacramento River led to the largest fishery closure on
record. While this year’s returns of fall chinook to the
Sacramento are somewhat better than last year’s, sport and
commercial fishing opportunities for chinook salmon south of
Cape Falcon will continue to be very limited.
North of Cape Falcon options
Recreational- From the US/Canada border to Cape
Falcon, the proposed sport fishing options have coho quotas
ranging from 168,000 to 189,000 that start in late June or
July and run into September. The 2009 coho quota options are
8-9 times larger than the 2008 quota. Chinook fishing will
also be allowed, but in the Columbia River and Westport
areas, one option only allows marked hatchery chinook to be
Commercial- Ocean commercial fishery options
north of Cape Falcon include traditional chinook seasons in
the May-June time frame. In the July to September time
frame, options give a wide range of season open days, and
include gear restrictions to target pink salmon along the
North Washington Coast. Chinook quotas for all areas and
times range from 10,000 to 22,500, which are similar to the
2008 quota of 20,000. The coho quotas range from 32,000 to
36,000, which are 8-9 times higher than the 2008 quota.
South of Cape Falcon options
Recreational- South of Cape Falcon, Oregon
recreational options for coho range from 70,000 to 117,000,
which is up from 9,000 last year. Options for this area
include mark-selective coho fishing seasons starting in June
or July and running through August with additional coho
opportunity in September. One of the options even includes a
three-fish daily bag limit to take advantage of the expected
large abundance of hatchery coho.
Options for Oregon ocean chinook fishing in the Brookings
area range from closed to open for 10 days in late August
and early September. For the Tillamook, Newport and Coos Bay
areas, seasons are proposed for September with a bag limit
of up to one chinook per day.
Commercial- Oregon commercial season options in
the Brookings area range from closed to a season with a
1,000 chinook quota in September. Season options from Cape
Falcon to Humbug Mt. range from closed to open for chinook
and coho in September, with quotas on coho catch and weekly
landing limits for both coho and chinook.
PFMC will host public hearings to review the options on
March 30 at 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Coos Bay and at
7 p.m. at the Chateau Westport in Westport, Wash.; and on
March 31 at 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Eureka, Calif.
The proposals will also be reviewed by the Oregon Fish and
Wildlife Commission at its March 20 meeting in Salem.