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Pacific Fishery Management Council Adopts 2022 West Coast Ocean Salmon Seasons

Seattle, Washington—The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted ocean salmon recommendations for 2022. The seasons provide recreational and commercial opportunities for most of the Pacific coast and achieve conservation goals for the numerous salmon stocks on the West Coast.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval by May 16, 2022.

Forecasts for many Chinook and coho stocks have improved compared to last year; however, the Council is constrained by requirements to conserve Fraser River (Canada) coho, lower Columbia River natural tule1 fall Chinook, California Coastal Chinook, and Klamath River Fall Chinook.

“Meeting our conservation and management objectives continues to be the highest priority for the Council,” said Council Chair Marc Gorelnik . “Balancing those objectives while providing meaningful commercial and recreational seasons remains a challenge in 2022.”

Washington and Northern Oregon (north of Cape Falcon)

 Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited mainly by the need to constrain catch of lower Columbia River natural tule Chinook. Additionally, three coho

1 Tule Chinook generally spawn lower in the Columbia River than other Columbia River Chinook stocks.

salmon stocks are categorized as overfished (Queets River, Strait of Juan de Fuca) or are rebuilding (Snohomish), which was a concern when structuring 2022 fisheries.

North of Cape Falcon, the overall non-Indian total allowable catch is 54,000 Chinook coastwide (compared to 58,000 last year) and 200,000 marked hatchery coho (compared to 75,000 last year).

Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon

The Council addresses the “federally recognized fishing rights” of coastal tribes as part of its annual process to adopt ocean salmon recommendations for tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon. The Council adopted the seasons as proposed by the tribes. The tribal ocean fishery structure is similar to past years with a spring season focused on Chinook and a summer fishery focused on both Chinook and coho. The quotas are 40,000 Chinook salmon (same as last year), and 52,000 coho (compared to 26,500 last year).

Commercial ocean season

The non-Indian ocean commercial fishery north of Cape Falcon includes the traditional seasons in the spring (May-June) for Chinook and in the summer (July-September) for Chinook and coho. The Chinook quota is 27,000 (compared to 30,750 last year) and the coho quota is 32,000 marked coho (compared to 5,000 last year).

Sport ocean season

The ocean sport fishery north of Cape Falcon opens in mid-June to early July and continues through September, unless salmon quotas are met earlier. The Chinook quota is 27,000 (compared to 27,250 last year) and the coho quota is 168,000 marked coho, (compared to 70,000 last year).

Oregon (south of Cape Falcon) and California

 Fisheries south of Cape Falcon are limited mainly by the low abundance forecast for Klamath River fall Chinook, and the need to protect ESA-list California Coastal Chinook. Sacramento River fall Chinook contribute significantly to ocean harvest. This year’s management measures are designed to provide fishing opportunity for the more abundant Sacramento River fall Chinook while reducing fishing impacts on Klamath River fall Chinook and California Coastal Chinook.

Commercial ocean season

The area from Cape Falcon to Heceta Bank line is open now through May, intermittently in June through September and all of October. The area from Heceta Bank line to

Humbug Mountain will be open in May, intermittently in August and September, and all of October. The season dates in July and August are open for all salmon with a 10,000 marked coho quota the entire area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, and the September to October timeframe will be managed with a weekly Chinook limit.

The Oregon Klamath Management Zone is open now through April, and in June, July, and most of August with Chinook quotas and weekly landing limits in place during the summer months. The California Klamath Management Zone is closed for the season.

The areas south of the California Klamath Management Zone have seasons that vary considerably between management areas (Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey) with several short openers interspersed throughout the summer. In general, fishing opportunity is significantly reduced compared to last year.

Sport ocean season

The area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain is open now through October for Chinook. The mark-selective coho fishery is open from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA Border (100,000 marked coho quota) starting in mid-June and continuing through most of August, and a non-mark-selective fishery is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (17,000 non-marked coho quota) in September.

The Oregon Klamath Management Zone is open from late June through most of August, with a mark-selective coho fishery mid-June through most of August. The California Klamath Management Zone is open in May, August, and the first few days of September.

The areas south of the California Klamath Management Zone have seasons that vary considerably between management areas (Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey), with reduced opportunity in the northern areas due to protections for California Coastal Chinook, and more abundant opportunity in the southern areas. In general, fishing opportunity is reduced compared to last year.

Southern Resident Killer Whales

 The Council worked collaboratively with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to understand the effects of Council-area fisheries on Southern Resident killer whales, which are listed as endangered. Based in part on information provided by the Council’s ad-hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup, the Council amended the Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan to address the needs of the whales while providing salmon harvest opportunities. Salmon abundance is well above the threshold of 966,000 Chinook that would require additional fishery restrictions.

Management Process

 “This has been another challenging year for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders, and the public as we strive to balance fishing opportunities with conservation needs for Chinook and coho stocks,” said Council Executive Director Merrick Burden.

The Council developed three management alternatives in early March for public review and further analysis. The review process included input from tribal, Federal, and state fishery scientists and fishing industry members; public testimony; and three public hearings held by webinar.

The decision must be approved by NMFS. Coastal states will adopt fishery regulations for state-managed waters that are compatible with the Council’s actions.

Council Role

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 miles offshore of the U.S. coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

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