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ODFW To Hold Webinar On Salmon Fishing Regulations

ODFW will host an online webinar on Wednesday, June 14 at 6 p.m. to discuss the outlook and potential fishing regulations for 2023 in-river fall Chinook and coho fisheries along Oregon's coast, from the Necanicum River to the Winchuck River. Potential regulations for nearshore ocean waters adjacent to several tributaries will also be discussed.

The webinar will be livestreamed and can be viewed on this webpage, https://myodfw.com/articles/fall-coastal-salmon-management Questions for fish biologists hosting the webinar can be submitted at this link found on the webpage, https://odfw.wufoo.com/forms/2023-fall-coastal-salmon-seasons/

Coho is again a bright spot this year with fishery managers forecasting the third consecutive year of good returns in most basins. There should be opportunities for wild coho fishing in bays and rivers in many basins across the coast. Due to somewhat improved forecasted returns, several basins that were closed to wild Chinook retention last year will be open this year. Fishery managers only anticipate wild Chinook retention closures in the Elk River (closed for the last few years) and the Coquille River. The Rogue River will be open to Chinook fishing per permanent regulations (unlike California rivers which are closed).

However, fishery managers have ongoing concerns about the long-term health of Chinook populations based both on region-wide trends, and recent declines in some Oregon coastal basins. Severe Chinook population declines in recent years have resulted in fishing restrictions and closures in many locations. This year, California has closed all ocean and freshwater recreational salmon fishing due to poor returns to the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers. Ocean conditions are also on a downturn again. NOAA predicts an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean this summer which brings warmer waters, less upwelling of nutrients that salmon rely on, and overall worse conditions for salmon.

"There has been a brief period of generally good ocean conditions in 2021 (and to a lesser extent 2022) that benefited some runs of salmon," said Shaun Clements, ODFW Deputy Fish Division Administrator. "But the developing El Nino will bring a return of poor conditions and it may be some time before we see several years of really good Chinook salmon returns in a row across the coast, as we used to prior to 2015." Coastal fall Chinook management is guided by the 2014 Coastal Multi-species Conservation and Management Plan (CMP) and the 2013 Rogue Fall Chinook Plan, with fishing regulations set based on Chinook population status.

The Plans also allow for adaptive management as necessary. Because Oregon coast coho are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, their management is guided by federal management plans and fisheries must be approved annually by the National Marine Fisheries Service. During the webinar, ODFW fish biologists will present the outlook for each basin and discuss alternatives for regulations. After the webinar, a survey will be available for anglers and others interested to provide their feedback/comments on alternatives. ODFW's North Coast office in Tillamook will also host an in-person meeting in Tillamook on June 15 at 6 p.m. at the ODFW Tillamook office, 4907 Third Street to discuss North Coast fisheries only.

Final regulations will be adopted and announced in early July.

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