Out of bounds and bound for trouble.Byline: Mike Stahlberg The Register-Guard
"Outside the bounds of the data" is the phrase the scientists chose to describe the pitiful returns of salmon to West Coast spawning areas.
What they mean is, our fish have fallen off the charts.
"This is very bad news for West Coast salmon fisheries," said Don Hanson, chairman of the Pacific Fisheries Management Fisheries management is today often referred to as a governmental system of management rules based on defined objectives and a mix of management means to implement the rules, which is put in place by a system of monitoring control and surveillance (MCS). Council.
"The word `disaster' comes to mind, and I mean a disaster much worse than the Klamath fishery disaster of 2006."
Prompting Hansen's statement was the release Thursday of the annual projection of salmon "stock abundance" by the council's Salmon Technical Team. That report is the first key step in setting salmon fishing seasons and regulations for the coming summer.
They may have to rename it the "salmon stock scarcity" report.
Chinook Chinook, indigenous people of North America
Chinook (shĭnk`, chĭ–), Native American tribe of the Penutian linguistic stock. numbers are down drastically. The key Sacramento River Sacramento River
River, northern California, U.S. Rising near Mount Shasta, it flows 382 mi (615 km) southwest between the Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges, through the northern Central Valley. run - which drives chinook fishing along the Oregon, Washington and Northern California Northern California, sometimes referred to as NorCal, is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The region contains the San Francisco Bay Area, the state capital, Sacramento; as well as the substantial natural beauty of the redwood forests, the northern coastlines - is at an all-time low. Biologists say it's doubtful spawning goals can be met even if no ocean fishing for chinook is allowed this year.
Meanwhile coho salmon Coho salmon
oncorhynchuskisutch. , the backbone of the recreational ocean salmon fishery along the Oregon coast The Oregon Coast is a geographical term that is used to describe the coast of Oregon along the Pacific Ocean. Stretching 362 miles from Astoria to the California border, the Oregon Coast is unique in that the whole coastline is public land. , aren't doing much better.
Only 276,000 coho coho
or silver salmon
Species (Oncorhynchus kisutch) of salmon prized for food and sport that ranges from the Bering Sea to Japan and the Salinas River of Monterey Bay, Cal. It weighs about 10 lbs (4. are expected to return to Oregon waters in 2008 - 33 percent of what was forecast at this time last year. Of those, 60,000 will be wild fish, the remaining 216,000 of hatchery hatchery
a commercial establishment dedicated to the hatching of bird eggs to provide day old chicks and poults to the poultry industry.
the contents of unfertilized eggs. Used in petfood manufacture. origin.
Was it only a decade and a half ago that coho abundance pushed 2 million, year after year? The 2008 run may be enough to allow a token season, but not much more.
The details of this summer's salmon seasons will begin to take shape next week when the PFMC PFMC Pacific Fishery Management Council
PFMC Pacific Foundation for Medical Care
PFMC Pilgrims of Faith Marian Center meets in Sacramento to develop "options" for the coming year. Those options will then be discussed in public hearings (including one March 31 in Coos Bay Coos Bay (ks), city (1990 pop. 15,076), Coos co., SW Oreg., a port of entry on Coos Bay; founded 1854 as Marshfield, inc. 1874, renamed 1944. ) before a final decision is made during the council's April 7-12 meeting in Seattle.
In Oregon, the process actually starts Thursday in Newport, at a meeting of the Ocean Salmon Industry Group. Co-sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. and the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, the meeting is held to help develop Oregon's recommendations to the PFMC.
The session begins at 10 a.m. at the Best Western Agate Inn, 3019 North Coast Hwy., with a review of the 2007 ocean salmon seasons, of spawning escapements and of the run size forecasts for 2008.
The industry group will try to reach consensus on how to make the most of the available salmon.
In 2006, the PFMC allowed anglers to harvest 20,000 fin-clipped coho salmon in waters south of Cape Falcon. The run size forecast that year was for 460,000 coho, compared to 276,000 this summer.
"It looks like we're headed for a very low quota for coho, and probably a restricted season," said Eric Schindler of the ODFW's Ocean Sampling Program.
A restricted season could include such things as closing the ocean certain days of the week and changes in the bag limit.
The intermingling of fish runs in the ocean makes fisheries management extremely complex, and it will be more so this year, Schindler said.
In 2006, for example, the poor coho returns were offset somewhat along the central Oregon Coast by a strong showing of Sacramento chinook. That "buffer" won't be there this year. In fact, the need to protect the Sacramento run may lead to constraints on other fisheries.
"A lot of us are scratching heads now and trying to figure out what it all means," said Schindler.
Among salmon fishermen he's talked to, Schindler said, "at this point everybody's a little bit dazed daze
tr.v. dazed, daz·ing, daz·es
1. To stun, as with a heavy blow or shock; stupefy.
2. To dazzle, as with strong light.
A stunned or bewildered condition. and trying to figure out what might happen. ... Certainly there's frustration after last year having had a fairly substantial season."
The 2007 season saw a sport fishing quota of 50,000 coho, and a full complement of fishing days.
Now, it's difficult to imagine any outcome that translates to a good summer for fishing-oriented communities like Winchester Bay, or for Oregon's 200-plus licensed charter boats, or for individual anglers.
Finally, as bleak as the picture appears, the scientists are concerned things may actually be worse. "(We're) concerned that the 2008 forecasts for stocks south of Cape Falcon may be overly optimistic," the Salmon Technical Team says in its report.
Which is just their way of saying we're in uncharted waters here.
Mike Stahlberg can be reached at email@example.com.