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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 27, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Fisheries managers look at reducing minimum size limit during hatchery winter chinook fisheries

Ilwaco7 Aug. 20-2012Another in a series of state Fish and Wildlife salmon season setting meetings wrapped up today (Wednesday, March 27) at Lynnwood Embassy Suites.

Nothing definitive on specific fishing seasons was released as state and tribal fishery managers are still nailing down issues. Details should start to come to light at the final Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings April 6-11 at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

One of the major topics discussed by sport anglers at the Lynnwood meeting was reducing the chinook minimum size limit from 22-inches to 20-inches during the winter marked-selective hatchery chinook fisheries.

Marked-selective hatchery chinook fisheries are those where anglers can only keep hatchery fish that are identified by a missing adipose fin meaning.

Many sport fishing constituents at the meeting supported reducing the minimum size limit, and say a lot of the fish encountered during the winter are 20- to 21-plus inches.

While the support is there for lowering the size limit, one of the main concerns is what effect this will have on fisheries like early inseason closures and impacts on wild fish encounters.

“Anytime you increase the harvest, you increase the scrutiny of the fisheries,” said Steve Thiesfeld, a state Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound salmon manager.

State Fish and Wildlife intends to send a proposal on reducing the minimum size to their tribal co-managers by Friday, March 29.

In a handout provided by state Fish and Wildlife offered some insight as to how the conversion would affect wild chinook stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act:

IMPACT ON SPRING AND EARLY CHINOOK STOCKS

Nooksack total: 33.8 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 33.8 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Skagit total: 35.0 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 35.0 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

White total: 19.9 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 20.0 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

Dungeness total: 55.1 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 55.1 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

IMPACT ON SUMMER AND FALL CHINOOK STOCKS

Skagit total: 56.2 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 56.2 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Stillaguamish total: 22.0 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 22.1 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

Snohomish total: 23.8 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 24.0 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

Lake Washington (Cedar River) total: 37.2 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 37.3 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

Green total: 36.7 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 36.7 with a 20-inch limit for 0.1-percent total exploitation rate.

Puyallup total: 53.2 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 53.3 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Nisqually total: 62.1 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 62.1 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Western Strait/Hoko total: 28.7 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 28.8 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Elwha total: 54.2 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 54.3 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Mid-Hood Canal tributaries total: 27.2 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 27.2 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

Skykomish total: 51.8 percent exploitation rate with a 22 inch minimum size limit, and 51.9 with a 20-inch limit for 0.0-percent total exploitation rate.

TOTAL AGE EQUIVALENT (AEQ) MORTALITY TIME

Marine Catch Area 7 (San Juan Island): 3,728 22-inch chinook and 4,117 20-inch chinook for a 389 difference and 10 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca in Sekiu/Pillar Point region): 791 22-inch chinook and 791 20-inch chinook for no difference and 0.0 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 8-1 (eastern side of Whidbey Island): 3,548 22-inch chinook and 4,132 20-inch chinook for a 584 difference and 16 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 9 (northern Puget Sound): 2,574 22-inch chinook and 2,962 20-inch chinook for a 388 difference and 15 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca in Port Angeles region): 1,888 22-inch chinook and 2,150 20-inch chinook for a 262 difference and 14 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 10 (central Puget Sound): 3,846 22-inch chinook and 4,696 20-inch chinook for a 850 difference and 22 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 11 (southcentral Puget Sound): 1,833 22-inch chinook and 1,993 20-inch chinook for a 160 difference and 9 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 12 (Hood Canal): 2,084 22-inch chinook and 2,597 20-inch chinook for a 513 difference and 25 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 13 (southern Puget Sound): 353 22-inch chinook and 353 20-inch chinook for a 389 difference and 0.0 percent total increase.

All Puget Sound sport fisheries: 20,645 22-inch chinook and 23,791 20-inch chinook for a 3,146 difference and 15 percent total increase.

TOTAL LANDED CATCH TIME

Marine Catch Area 7 (San Juan Island): 3,944 22-inch chinook and 4,461 20-inch chinook for a 571 difference and 13 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca in Sekiu/Pillar Point region): 730 22-inch chinook and 730 20-inch chinook for no difference and 0.0 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 8-1 (eastern side of Whidbey Island): 2,639 22-inch chinook and 3,558 20-inch chinook for a 919 difference and 35 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 9 (northern Puget Sound): 1,368 22-inch chinook and 1,911 20-inch chinook for a 543 difference and 40 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca in Port Angeles region): 1,892 22-inch chinook and 2,228 20-inch chinook for a 336 difference and 18 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 10 (central Puget Sound): 2,208 22-inch chinook and 3,572 20-inch chinook for a 1,364 difference and 22 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 11 (southcentral Puget Sound): 1,121 22-inch chinook and 1,405 20-inch chinook for a 284 difference and 25 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 12 (Hood Canal): 1,613 22-inch chinook and 2,375 20-inch chinook for a 762 difference and 47 percent total increase.

Marine Catch Area 13 (southern Puget Sound): 218 22-inch chinook and 218 20-inch chinook for a 389 difference and 0.0 percent total increase.

All Puget Sound sport fisheries: 15,733 22-inch chinook and 20,458 20-inch chinook for a 4,725 difference and 30 percent total increase.

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