THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Several Puget Sound waters will close earlier than anticipated to fishing for or retention of Chinook salmon, state salmon managers announced today.
The closures – in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), the Tulalip Bubble, and the Skykomish River – are due in part to higher-than-expected catch rates and significant angler participation, as well as low returns to some hatcheries.
“It’s great that so many people are out on the water and taking part in these fisheries,” said Kyle Adicks, intergovernmental salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “But anytime you have large number of anglers participating in a fishery, and especially when the fishing is good, it means we’ll meet our quotas faster. These closures are necessary to make sure we can meet conservation goals under our pre-season fishery plans.”
The following areas will see closures:
Marine Area 5 (Sekiu): Closes to Chinook salmon retention beginning July 19. As of July 15, managers estimated that 78% of the Chinook encounter quota had been met. While the fishery will close to Chinook salmon retention, it remains open for hatchery coho and pink salmon retention.
Skykomish River: The Skykomish River will close to Chinook fishing from the mouth to the Wallace River beginning July 19, to help ensure the Wallace River Hatchery meets its broodstock goals.
Tulalip Terminal Fishing Area (Tulalip Bubble): The Tulalip Bubble will close to all salmon fishing at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 16, until further notice. WDFW and co-managers have increased broodstock objectives for hatchery programs within the Snohomish watershed, and actual returns so far to the Bernie Gobin Hatchery are lower than expected.
These areas join Marine Area 7 in the San Juan Islands, which closed to salmon fishing July 8. In addition, Adicks noted that Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), which opened Friday, was already seeing significant fishing pressure and similar reports of high catch rates.
“We’ll continue monitoring returns to determine if any of these closed areas might be able to reopen yet this summer,” Adicks said. “We’ll also be keeping a close eye on other Puget Sound fisheries to make sure we’re staying within our quotas.”