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NW Fishletter #272, March 17, 2010

[4] Some Salmon Fishing Possible Off California This Year

The Pacific Fishery Management Council announced last Thursday three draft options for managing salmon fisheries off the West Coast. They will pick one by mid-April.

The most optimistic option calls for California and southern Oregon commercial fisherman to begin their season May 1 and share about 100,000 fall chinook with recreational fishers, with an expected spawning escapement of 150,000 adults to the Sacramento River.

A second option would split up about 60,000 chinook and a third calls for no fishing at all, which would return 230,000 fall chinook to the Sacramento system, according to PFMC estimate.

But managers may err of the side of caution, after last year's huge error in predicting the size of the fall run. The council overestimated the fall run by 300 percent.

Only about 40,000 returned--the lowest number on record, and far below the minimum conservation goal of 122,000. Last year, most commercial fishing was closed for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, Washington coastal fishers are expected to have plenty of fishing time, with commercials and sportfishers expected to split about 100,000 chinook and 110,000 marked coho. -B. R.

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