The Seattle Times today is reporting the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) will decide whether to close the Coho salmon 2016 season at its April 9-14 meeting.
There is alarm at the dramatically low rate of Coho returning for spawning. For example, last year only 242,000 Coho (out of the expected 700,000) returned to the Columbia River system. As the PFMC stated on their website, “…but expectations for wild coho runs to the Washington Coast and Puget Sound areas can only be described as disastrous.”
Commercial fishers and guide services will suffer economic loss to be sure. Recreational fishers of all equipment types will miss out on the annual chance to hook a fighting Coho. But it is necessary to give the Coho stocks a chance to replenish if it’s not already too late. At the same time, temporary bans do not solve the problems of urban runoff, industrial pollution, over fishing, and climate change. All those factors have, and will continue to have, impacts on the survival of all life in Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.
I hope the PFMC receives universal agreement from the tribal managers and state fisheries managers (California, Oregon, and Washington) to make the hard, but needed, decision.
Washington residents may submit comments to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife here.