GOLD BEACH Three options for this years Chinook salmon season have been selected by the Klamath Management Zone Fisheries Coalition.
Russ Crabtree, manager of the Port of Brookings Harbor, reported Monday to the Curry County commissioners on the three possible options.
Option I was preferred by members of the coalition, which represents ports from Coos Bay to Humboldt Bay.
In it, the Chinook season would open May 25 and run through July 7. After a 16-day closure to allow endangered coho salmon to enter rivers to spawn, the Chinook season would reopen on July 24 and run through Sept. 2.
Anglers would be allowed to catch two Chinook a day, up to six in seven consecutive days.
Crabtree said each angler at his port actually catches an average of 1.25 Chinook a day.
In Option II, the season would open a bit earlier, on May 17, and run through July 8. It would reopen on July 23 and run through Sept. 2.
In the first half of the season, fishermen would be allowed two Chinook a day, up to four in seven days. In the second half, they could catch two a day, up to six in seven days.
Crabtree said a third option was put forward by the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
In Option III, the season would start May 15 and run through July 7. It would reopen July 27 and run through Sept. 15. Anglers would be allowed two Chinook a day, up to four in seven days.
A similar proposal last year caused a rift between the chamber, which wanted the longest possible fishing season to extend the tourist season, and local fishermen, who wanted to catch as many fish as they could per week.
Crabtree said most of the Chinook caught in the first half of the season are caught in Northern California. Most Chinook caught in Brookings are caught during the second half of the season.
Crabtree said the options will go through a week-long process in March, and another in April.
He said a combination of all three options would most likely emerge from the processes and go to the Pacific Fishery Management Council for approval.
That council will then make a recommendation to the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the season will be announced in early May.
Crabtree said the port and city cant market the season properly because they dont know what it will be until nearly opening day.
He said if the process could be changed so the final season was set earlier, it would be a tremendous boost to the economy.
He suggested the new Curry Economic Development Alliance Corporation could help change the process.
Crabtree thanked the commissioners for participating in the coalition, where Commissioner Lucie La Bont serves on the board.
He said the coalition is also dealing with the groundfish crisis and new crab regulations.
La Bont credited Crabtree with starting the coalition. The two also attended the Klamath Fishery Management Council in Eureka Thursday and Friday.
La Bont said the long-anticipated new Klamath Ocean Harvest Model is finally ready to use.
The new model will be used to compute the Chinook that should be caught with each of the three proposed season options.
Crabtree said the entire projected Chinook catch in the Klamath Management Zone is first split 50/50 with the tribes.
About 17 percent of the non-tribal half is allocated to ocean fisheries. Crabtree said Option I should come close to that with a 15 percent harvest.