Council Recommends 2006 Salmon Fishery Management Measures

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) concluded its development of 2006 West Coast ocean salmon fishery management measures at its meeting in Sacramento last week (2-7 April 2006), and will recommend these measures to the DOC Secretary for implementation by Emergency Rule beginning 1 May 2006.

California and Oregon ocean fishery measures were structured around the harvest of Klamath River fall Chinook (KRFC) salmon which, even in the absence of any further fishing in 2006, were not expected to meet the Council’s conservation objective for this stock. The Council’s FMP requires a minimum of 35,000 natural area spawning adults annually, and that if this objective cannot be met that all directed ocean salmon fisheries between Cape Falcon, OR and Point Sur, CA be closed. NMFS however provided guidance to the Council which suggested that fishery management measures designed to achieve at least 21,000 KRFC natural area spawning adults in 2006 would likely be acceptable under an Emergency Rule, provided additional precautionary harvest measures were adopted. The Council responded by proposing minor closures in the ocean recreational fisheries (mostly in the Klamath Management Zone and Fort Bragg), but major closures in the ocean commercial fisheries: for the May-Aug period, Northern Oregon is open for approximately half a month in June and July; Central Oregon to Fort Bragg, CA is closed; San Francisco is open for 5 days in July and the month of August; and Monterey is open the month of May, 5 days in July, and the month of August.

As a precautionary measure, the Council included various commercial landing and possession limits per vessel and per calendar week in certain fisheries. For the Klamath River fisheries, the tribal quota is 10,000 adult fall chinook (50% of the overall adult harvest of KRFC), while the river sport fishery is catch-and-release only for adult fall Chinook. The California Fish and Game Commission (CFGC), however, has authority over the Klamath River sport fishery and the CFGC has not yet adopted a catch-and-release only fishery for KRFC. Should the CFGC decide to allocate additional harvest of Klamath River fall Chinook to the river sport fishery, NMFS may need to further constrain ocean salmon fisheries through in-season action. (April 10, 2006)