January 25th, 2013
The “2013 Joint Staff Report: Stock Status and Fisheries for Spring Chinook, Summer Chinook, Sockeye. Steelhead, and Other Species, and Miscellaneous Regulations” was released Thursday, January 24, 2013 by the Joint Management Staff of the Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish & Wildlife. The overall preseason forecast for all spring Chinook stocks is for considerably less abundance during 2013 than in the past several years. Diminished abundance is expected despite the fact that recent reports on the outlook for ocean conditions during 2012 stated that the indicators for salmonid survival while mixed, “seemed to contain more good than bad.” (http://www.cbbulletin.com/424596.aspx) Abundance of Chinook stocks is expect to increase in 2014, however.
The prospects for commercial harvest of Columbia River mainstem spring Chinook for the consumer marketplace are not very promising this season, in part due to the radical reallocation scheme recently adopted the Oregon and Washington Fish & Wildlife Commissions at the behest of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. The Columbia River non-Indian commercial gillnet fishery is the only access point for consumers to these most highly prized of all salmon.
The 2013 pre-season forecast for Upper Columbia River summer Chinook is for 73,500 adult fish to the mouth of the Columbia River compared to an actual return of 58,300 adults during 2012. It should be noted that the 2012 run size was only 64% of the preseason forecast of 91,200 fish to the river’s mouth. Management of non-Indian recreational and commercial fisheries will be determined during the annual North of Falcon process.
The 2013 preseason forecast for Columbia River sockeye (blueback) salmon is for a relatively strong return of 180,500 adults to the river’s mouth. This compares to the actual run size of nearly 521,000 sockeye during 2012, which was greater than the preseason forecast of 462,000 sockeye. Despite the incredible abundance of last year’s sockeye run, not even one sockeye-directed commercial opener was permitted by fishery managers.
The 2013 Spring Joint Staff Report is appended as a PDF file of 1 MB in size.