Fish managers say late smelt run doesn’t justify fishery

first_img Smelt have arrived and are running up the Cowlitz River, but fishery managers say the run is not strong enough to justify a fishery. The run is also later than usual this year.Managers were expecting a poor run of smelt, also known as eulachon, for 2019, and although the run is stronger than expected, it is still a poor return.“Though still a low run, more fish are returning than did last year, which may indicate a positive shift in ocean conditions for smelt” said Laura Heironimus, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish manager, in a news release. “This may bode well for future years.”Since 2011, smelt have been listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In four of the years since the run has been strong enough to allow a limited dip-net fishery. Share: Published: March 20, 2019, 10:33pm Follow Fish managers say late smelt run doesn’t justify fishery Receive latest stories and local news in your email: Only about 100,500 hatchery “tules” will return to the Columbia this fall. Those fish are what drives the ocean Chinook recreational catch off the Washington coast.This year’s forecast for Columbia River fall chinook is down about 50 percent from the 10-year average.State fishery managers, tribal co-managers, and NOAA Fisheries will also need to take into account the dietary needs of southern resident orcas while developing salmon fishing seasons.The decline in salmon, particularly Chinook salmon, is one of the primary reasons the southern resident orcas are suffering. Disruptions from boating traffic have been also been linked to a downturn in the region’s population. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. GO Share: Follow The Columbian on Instagram Input sought on ocean salmon proposalsAmid concerns over low Chinook stocks and optimism about strong coho returns, fisheries managers have developed a set of options for Washington’s ocean salmon seasons for this year.Three options for ocean salmon fisheries were approved for public review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which sets fishing seasons in ocean waters from three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.The WDFW is now asking the public to weigh in on the options, and is seeking comments.An estimated 905,800 adult coho salmon are expected to return to the Columbia this year, a huge boost over the return in 2018. The problem is that the return of Chinook is so low that it will constrain the coho fisheries. By Columbian news serviceslast_img

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