Starting Friday (April 12), anglers fishing the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) will be limited to one salmon per day.
State fishery managers approved the new limit – down from two fish per day – after determining that the number of chinook salmon kept or released has exceeded pre-season projections.
“Fishing picked up in late December and held steady through the remainder of the winter fishery,” said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “After reviewing the catch estimates, it was clear we needed to take action to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern.”
Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin as a hatchery fish. However, since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 4,284 total encounters with legal-size chinook during the fishery.
According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 4,976 chinook in Marine Area 7 as of April 7.
Lothrop reminds anglers that Bellingham Bay remains closed to salmon fishing.
The new catch limit will ensure compliance with conservation objectives and state-tribal management plans in Puget Sound, said Lothrop. WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 7 through April 30, when it is scheduled to close.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .
Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife