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February 28, 2008

New spring chinook guidelines adopted for Columbia River fisheries

New spring chinook guidelines adopted for Columbia River fisheries

In February the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved new allocation guidelines for this year's spring chinook salmon season on the lower Columbia River that favor recreational fisheries.

In a late-afternoon conference call, commissioners voted 5-3 with one abstention to modify the formula used to allocate the incidental catch of wild spring Chinook salmon between non-tribal sport and commercial fisheries during the past two seasons.

"This was a tough decision, because the spring chinook fishery is important to both sport and commercial fishers," said Jerry Gutzwiler, who chairs the nine-member commission that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

That formula is expected to increase fishing opportunities for sport fishers and reduce those for commercial fishers compared to the previous guidelines, which allocated 57 percent of the incidental impacts on wild fish to the sport fishery and 43 percent to the commercial fishery.