New Fishing Limits Proposed for Pacific Commercial Chinook Salmon

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The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted a proposed amendment – Amendment 21 – to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for review and approval. The Council manages salmon fisheries, including Chinook, in the EEZ off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council’s FMP sets forth the framework for how Council-area salmon fisheries are managed. The stated goal of Amendment 21 “is to limit ocean salmon fishery impacts on foraging opportunities for [Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW)] on Chinook salmon in years of low Chinook salmon abundance.” 

Key Takeaways

The Council developed Amendment 21 in response to a 2020 risk assessment prepared by its ad hoc SRKW Workgroup, formed for the purpose of assessing potential conservation measures and management tools to promote Chinook salmon prey availability for SRKW.

If approved, Amendment 21 would establish a threshold for annual Chinook salmon. If forecasted abundance levels fell below this threshold, additional management measures would be implemented including one or more of the following:

  • A limit on the annual quota in non-tribal commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Oregon;
  • Shifting quota for Chinook salmon catch north of Cape Falcon, Oregon, from the springtime period to the summertime period; and
  • Area closures in times and areas for which current data indicate greater foraging use by the SRKW.

Next Steps

Fishing interests impacted by the proposed Amendment 21 may want to consider submitting public comments. The amendment is available for public comment through August 2, 2021. 

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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