The final report on how salmon fisheries may affect Puget Sound’s endangered killer whale population has been released by a seven-member independent panel of U.S. and Canadian experts.
It appears that the findings of the report are substantially the same as what I reported in a Kitsap Sun story on May 6. If you haven’t read the story, I think you will find all the comments interesting.
The next step will be for NOAA officials to issue recommendations from the report. In light of the findings and the uncertainty about the effects of reduced fishing, it seems likely that more studies will be proposed rather than an immediate adjustment to harvest.
I’ll continue to follow this story through the public review process, which is planned for early next year. Updates and related documents can be found on NOAA’s website.
The management plan for Puget Sound chinook fisheries will remain in effect through next year, after which time it will need to be updated in consultation between state and federal agencies. Chinook are a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. See NOAA’s webpage, “Puget Sound Chinook Resource Management Plan.”
You may be interested in older studies and policy documents by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Go to “Comprehensive Management Plan for Puget Sound Chinook: Harvest Management Component.”