OUTDOORS: Area 9 closing Monday to hatchery chinook

LESS THAN A week of chinook fishing in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) has produced a state estimate of 53 percent of the area’s chinook quota through Friday.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the brakes need to be pumped on the fast-and-furious hatchery chinook action at Area 9 hot spots such as Midchannel Bank and Possession Point.

That means Marine Area 9 will be closed to the retention of hatchery chinook beginning Monday at 12:01 a.m. as state fishery managers re-evaluate the catch after the weekend of fishing to determine how much available quota remains.

Should there be sufficient catch available, Fish and Wildlife will announce when the fishery will reopen to harvest the remaining quota.

After today, salmon fishing remains open for the retention of hatchery coho as part of anglers’ two-salmon daily limit but chinook, chum and wild coho all must be released.

Salmon fishing updates

Through Friday, Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) is just more than a quarter of the way through its hatchery chinook encounter guideline of 5,758 (1,482 encounters), so no worries about a premature end to the king fishery out west.

At Neah Bay, 1,508 anglers from July 9 through 15 caught 484 chinook and 611 hatchery coho for a 0.73 catch per angler overall (0.32 for chinook and 0.41 for coho). So far, 2,234 of the 4,370 coho catch quota have been caught (51 percent) and 1,148 chinook of the 4,900 quota (23.4 percent).

At La Push, 94 anglers from July 9 through 15 caught 10 chinook and 20 hatchery coho for a 0.32 catch per overall (0.11 for chinook and 0.21 for coho). So far, 58 of the 1,090 coho catch quota have been caught (5.3 percent) and 53 chinook of the 1,500 quota (3.5 percent).

Check wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html for the latest information on marine areas that are managed to a quota or guideline.

Webinar Monday

Fish and Wildlife has scheduled a public webinar for 7 p.m. Monday to discuss current funding challenges.

Register at tinyurl.com/PDN-Webinar now through Monday.

To listen in, call 1-415-655-0052 after 6:45 p.m. Monday and enter code 281-297-953 to participate.

During the webinar, Nate Pamplin, Fish and Wildlife policy director, will describe the work of independent consultants and the agency’s Budget and Policy Advisory Group to explain the causes of a projected $30 million gap in funding faced by the department over the two-year budget cycle that begins in July 2019.

Pamplin will describe planned budget cuts and proposed funding increases that are designed to eliminate the shortfall and ensure the department has adequate funding in the future.

He said several factors have caused the shortfall, including:

Several one-time funding patches approved by lawmakers in recent years will expire soon.

Fish and Wildlife revenue from the sale of recreational licenses has not kept pace with spending authorized by the Legislature for managing fish, wildlife and their habitat.

The department still has not fully recovered from the deep cuts imposed during the recession, and license fees have not been adjusted since 2011.

To meet the challenge, the department is preparing a set of proposals to the Governor and Legislature and is exploring options for recreational license fee increases to avoid reducing service to the public and to fulfill its conservation mission.

Documents describing spending and revenue proposals are available on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/development/.

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