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NW Fishletter
NWF.343/March 6, 2015
Another Banner Year Expected For Fall Chinook
Columbia Basin harvest managers are predicting nearly a million fall Chinook to return to the Columbia River this year, and more than half are expected to be upriver brights heading for the Hanford Reach. ...more
Columbia River Commercial Fisheries Worth $15M Last Year
Tribal and non-tribal commercial fishermen caught nearly $15 million worth of salmon in the Columbia River last year, according to a report released last week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). ...more
Higher Returns Expected For Some West Coast Salmon Stocks
West Coast salmon returns were below expectations last year in California, where about 212,000 Sacramento fall Chinook returned (hatchery plus natural-origin), about 100,000 fish shy of the preseason prediction. In 2013, about 406,000 returned, the best since 2003. ...more
Fish Recovery Efforts May Be Limited By Habitat Constraints
A new report from the region's independent science panel may be bad news for fish advocates who dream of wringing another 2- or 3-million salmon out of the Columbia Basin. That's what it would take to reach the 5-million fish goal in the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's F&W program, more than twice the number that returned in banner year 2014. ...more
Water Supply Forecast Down 10 Percent: Weak El Niño Declared
By March 3, the water supply forecast (April-September) for the Columbia Basin at The Dalles had slipped to 83 percent of average, declining 10 percent over the last month. February precipitation levels above The Dalles were 92 percent of average, though warm temperatures kept snowpack levels from growing. The water supply above the Snake River at Lower Granite Dam was running at 79 percent of average. ...more
Washington Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge To New Harvest Policy
The Washington State Court of Appeals has affirmed Thurston County District Court's dismissal of a lawsuit by non-tribal gillnetters that challenged a new harvest policy Washington adopted in 2013 to phase out gillnetters from mainstem Columbia River fishing grounds. The new plan would restrict the fishermen to select areas outside the mainstem, where more fish would be raised in net pens for harvest, and allow for more selective harvest of salmon with purse and beach seines. ...more
Region Targets More Fish-Eating Cormorants And Terns
After receiving tens of thousands of comments on its draft EIS for managing bird predation on young salmonids in the lower river, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to water down its plan to kill 18,000 double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River estuary over the next four years. ...more
Briefs
Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission has selected interim ODFW director Curt Melcher, a 28-year veteran of the agency, to head the state's fish agency. The commission chose him over two other finalists for the job, Ed Bowles, ODFW's current fish division administrator, and Krystyna Wolniakowski, director of the Western Partnership Office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. ...more

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