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 got off to a fast start last fall, boosting the number of fish kept or released to date," 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."
Except at the Edmonds Pier, anglers fishing in Marine Area 9 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 1,615 total encounters with legal-size chinook during the fishery.
According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 1,737 chinook in Marine Area 9 as of Feb. 24.
Lothrop said catch levels in adjoining marine areas are below expected levels, but that the new catch limit will ensure compliance with conservation objectives and state-tribal management plans in Puget Sound. He said WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 9 through April 15, when it is scheduled to close.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .