Yesterday’s news release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has at least four items of interest to SRKW conservation scheduled for discussion in their Feb 4-5 meeting. A moratorium on fishing in the Elwha River system to facilitate recovery of its salmon populations, especially the historically large chinook, could mean more food faster for SRKWs. Better management of summer chinook on the Columbia could affect the food sources SRKWs encounter, though those populations may be less important than fall-spring runs. Any alteration of the North of Falcon process could influence salmon abundance in WA marine waters, as could changes to how bottomfish are caught by recreational and commercial fishers.
It might be worth a trek south to sit in on this one…
Here is an excerpt of the relevant sections:
Meanwhile, with two major dams on the Elwha River scheduled for removal starting later this year, the commission will consider adopting a moratorium on fishing designed to support restoration of native salmon and trout populations in that watershed. One proposal calls for closing all waters to fishing in the Elwha River Basin, while another alternative would maintain some fishing opportunity in Lake Sutherland.
State, federal and tribal fishery managers have proposed fishing closures in the watershed to protect fish during the dam-removal process and encourage their expansion into 70 miles of new spawning and rearing habitat.
In other action, the commission is scheduled to consider management alternatives for bottomfish in Catch Area 4B (western Strait of Juan de Fuca), which are available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/marinearea4/ .
The commission also is scheduled to consider updating its management policy for Columbia River summer chinook salmon to reflect new broodstock needs for the Chief Joseph Hatchery and conservation standards for naturally spawning fish, while providing guidance in allocating the catch between recreational and commercial fisheries.
The commission also is scheduled to consider:
* Changes in state fishing rules on a variety of issues, including closing fishing for Columbia River smelt (eulachon) statewide. The proposals are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ .
* Amendments to commercial bottomfish, forage fish and shellfish fisheries in Puget Sound designed to protect rockfish populations.
* Updates to the North of Falcon policy, which provides direction to fishery managers in defining annual salmon fishing seasons in Washington’s waters.