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Forecasts Predict Low Salmon Returns In Washington This Year

File photo. Wildlife officials expect returns of salmon in Washington state will be low this year.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
File photo. Wildlife officials expect returns of salmon in Washington state will be low this year.

Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state—and that could change the fishing outlook.

Forecasts for four species of salmon—chinook, coho, sockeye and chum—are likely to limit fishing opportunities this year. 

Kyle Adicks is the intergovernmental salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

“We have a growing population that isn’t necessarily good for salmon habitat,” he said. “We have a lot of people that value salmon—like to go out and catch them, like to see them spawning in our streams, like to see killer whales eating them in Puget Sound, but it’s kind of a resource that has been shrinking over time.”

That shrinking could be connected to declining ocean conditions, among other factors. 

With the forecasted numbers in hand, fisheries managers will kick off a month-and-a-half long process next week to craft the guidelines for the 2018 fishing seasons in Puget Sound, along the coastline and up and down the Columbia River.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.