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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 18, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Public comment sought on conservation plan for wild chinook in Puget Sound

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State Fish and Wildlife fishery managers are looking for public advice on a federally approved plan that guides conservation of Puget Sound chinook.

The workshop with members of the state Fish and Wildlife staff is 9 a.m. May 20 at the Edmonds City Hall, 121 Fifth Ave. North.

“This workshop is designed to promote public awareness of the plan and facilitate an exchange of ideas about possible updates to reflect current conditions,” said Phil Anderson, the state Fish and Wildlife interim director.

The current plan — set to expire next April — defines conservation goals for state and tribal fisheries that catch Puget Sound chinook, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Under that law, no fisheries affecting Puget Sound chinook can occur without a conservation plan approved by NOAA Fisheries.

To bring the plan up to date, Anderson said fishery managers are considering changes that would address:

-The development and implementation of the Puget Sound recovery plan for chinook

-The effects of hatchery-reform efforts in Puget Sound that effect the number of hatchery-reared salmon on the spawning grounds.

-The close connection between salmon productivity and the availability of spawning and rearing habitat.

-The need to provide additional protection for chronically depressed runs of wild salmon.

-Changes in fisheries, including those resulting from the Pacific Salmon Treaty approved last year by the United States and Canada.

-The effect of salmon-management strategies on other federally protected species, such as orcas and rockfish.

State fisheries also plans to schedule a follow-up panel discussion among outside experts in fisheries, hatchery management, environmental issues and other disciplines in early June.

Click here to view the Current Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan.

(Photo by Tom Reese, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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