This year’s salmon fishing debate was probably the longest in the history. However, after postponing the decision for two months, NOAA Fisheries has finally approved state Fish and Wildlife to reopen sport salmon fisheries.
According to John Long, a salmon policy coordinator for the state Fish and Wildlife, until now it has been very frustrating for anglers and fishermen. Plus, they almost lost their hope thinking that there will be no salmon fishing this year.
The discussions started from March and they continued until May. Tribal and state fishery managers had the longest debate over the last thirty years. At first, the discussions ended in the conclusion that all marine waterways for salmon fishing in Puget Sound will be closed for the rest of the year.
The leading source of the entire controversy came from the fact that Chinook and Coho are protected species of salmon. They went under the Endangered Species Act after excessive fishing, and other factors that brought them on the verge of extinction.
Nevertheless, thanks to the efforts of the officials, their situation has stabilized, and the population of the two species has grown over the last decades. Fortunately, tribal and state fishery managers have reached an agreement on May 26, but it was still uncertain whether there would be a salmon fishing season or not.
Fortunately, several marine areas will be open for salmon fishing including Tulalip Bubble Fishery, Southern Puget Sound, and South-Central Puget Sound. Nevertheless, they will be open for Chinook fishing only, but anglers must release wild, unmarked Chinook, and all Coho as well.
It is also worth mentioning that many other areas will be reopened for fishing from July 1st such as Port Angeles and Strait of Juan de Fuca at Sekiu but only for hatchery Chinook fishing. In addition to this, even if salmon fishing is allowed in most Puget Sound areas, Coho fishing is forbidden, so anglers must release any wild specimen they catch.
However, Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington will be closed to fishing beginning from September 1st until October 31st because officials will wait for the weak return of Coho salmon. Sports fishing season is indeed good news for every angler as long as the regulations will prevent them from bringing any harm to the ecosystem.