By WILLIAM LUNDQUIST
Oregon coast coho salmon may not be protected by the Endangered Species Act anymore, but local officials still dont know what that means for Brookings-Harbor.
The issue was discussed by members of the Port of Brookings Harbor Fisheries Committee Thursday.
Vice Chairman Roger Thompson said the National Marine Fisheries Service decided not to appeal a federal court ruling that took coho off the threatened list.
He reminded members, however, that the ruling applies to coho north of Cape Blanco.
Were still on the listing here because were tied to California, he said.
Commercial fisherman Ralph Brown, a member of the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council, said state officials met Wednesday to decide what to do about the ruling.
He said his council sets the coho harvest, and is still bound by Amendment 13 of the act.
It (the amendment) was not pulled back because the listing was pulled back, he said. I dont know what were going to do.
The coho had been listed as threatened to help rebuild wild stocks, and coho south of Cape Blanco remain listed.
Sport fisherman Jim Welter said the mix of wild and hatchery fish is now about half and half in the Rogue River, with about 20,000 of each returning to the river.
Sea Grant Extension Agent Jim Waldvogel said the Iron Gate and Trinity River hatcheries on the Klamath River system reported the same ratio of wild to hatchery fish.
Coho try to colonize wherever they can, said Welter.
It points out a problem with the listing, said Brown.
Port Manager Russ Crabtree said the fisheries service now appears to be putting more emphasis on local fish restoration plans.
Brown said their policy really hasnt changed. He said the fisheries service initially backed the governors salmon restoration plan and tried to avoid listing coho north of Cape Blanco. A federal lawsuit by environmental groups forced the listing.