An agreement regarding a management plan for 2016-2017 Puget Sound salmon fisheries has finally been established between tribes and the State Fish and Wildlife members.
Sports anglers, tribal and nontribal commercial fishermen were worried until now that there will be no salmon season this year. For the agreement to become available, it needs to have the approval from federal officials, but it is believed that this will happen soon.
However, all fishermen have the duty to preserve the wild Chinook and Coho salmon species that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. The 2016 negotiations were the longest in history after 30 years of tradition.
According to Ron Warren, the state Fish, and Wildlife salmon policy manager, if everyone will be more open to conversation in the future, things will be much easier, and such a situation will be prevented next year.
Willie Frank, the Puyallup Tribe natural resources manager and son of the late tribal fishing rights champion Billy Frank Jr., explained that the lack of salmon comes from the lack of habitat. Plus, fighting over salmon is not fair because it is already an endangered species.
Puget Sound had around 200,000 anglers with salmon licenses during the season of 2014-2015 and is also a crucial point of the state’s sport fisheries. Unfortunately, the fish survival has declined over the years because of poor ocean conditions, pollution, and industrial development.
Tribes plan to reduce fishing from the western edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from 8,500 to 4,500 Chinook to preserve the species. Plus, they also intend to decrease the netting time of Coho on the Puyallup River and in other regions as well.
Furthermore, the sport-fishing season on this river will not be allowed this year, even if the hatchery Chinook will be available for 15 days on the Carbon River. In addition to this, Coho fishing will be forbidden in Puget Sound except for Hood Canal.
The Marine Catch Area 11 in the Tacoma area will be closed to salmon Fishery from September until January. Even if there are many restrictions this season, everyone agreed that the rules are necessary in order to protect and preserve the salmon species.
Hopefully, in the future, these measures will pay off, and the salmon population will be restored.