Washington Department Fish and Wildlife project low wild salmon returns

  • Sat Mar 4th, 2017 6:00am
  • News

Fishery managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribes are predicting generally low salmon returns this year in Puget Sound, although some salmon runs are expected to increase from this past year.

Pink salmon, which typically return to Washington in odd-numbered years, is about 80 percent lower than the 10-year average, according to a press release. But state fisheries said the roughly 47,000 sockeye predicted to return brings more positive news.

Returns of hatchery chinook and coho salmon are expected to vary, but wild salmon returns are projected to be low. The projections are a result of “unfavorable environmental conditions,” including flooding in rivers and warm ocean water.

Coho salmon returns to many Puget Sound-area rivers are predicted to be “extremely low,” which would limit chances for overall salmon fishing. The total coho forecast is down about 6 percent from the 10-year average.

Some chinook fisheries in Puget Sound are also predicted to be limited due to low returns of wild chinook, which is down 10 percent from last year. Hatchery chinook in Puget Sound is up 27 percent from the 2016 forecast.