THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Fishery managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today a temporary pause for all salmon fishing in south-central Puget Sound (Marine Area 11). The closure goes into effect after Friday, June 3.
Estimates from catch sampling and creel surveys indicate the fishery – which has been very good since it opened on June 1 – was approaching the harvest quota and had exceeded the unmarked Chinook encounter limits. The first half of the season was originally scheduled to be open through June 30 with an allowable catch quota of 580 hatchery-marked Chinook. The total encounter limit was 432 wild Chinook and 752 sublegal fish (Chinook under the 22-inch minimum size limit).
“Although we were excited to be able to offer this early season opportunity for the first time in a few years, and clearly Washington anglers were excited about it too, because we saw high effort for this time of year,” said Kirsten Simonsen, Ph.D., WDFW’s Puget Sound recreational salmon manager. “With such high effort though, unfortunately we reached the quota much faster than anticipated. The catch per unit effort was approximately three times higher than the historical average.”
The good news is the hatchery Chinook retention fishery in Marine Area 11 – from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the northernmost part of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – was split into two distinct seasons to allow for additional summer fishing.
“We also plan to continue the Marine Area 11 test fishery to keep collecting valuable data that will help us to better understand the stock composition in the area during this time of year,” Simonsen said
Salmon fishing in Marine Area 11 will reopen daily from July 1 through Sept. 30. The allowable catch quota during the second half of the season is 2,816 hatchery-marked Chinook and a total sublegal encounter limit of 3,373 fish.
State fishery managers indicate the two summer segments were modeled separately due to the stock composition found in Marine Area 11 during June and the July to September time frames. This allowed fishery managers to meet all management objectives for stocks of concern and add time on the water.