Pacific Fishery Management Council
The Pacific Fishery Management Council sets annual fisheries for Chinook, coho, and pink salmon in federal waters from three to 200 miles off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council manages these fisheries subject to the terms of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Chinook and coho salmon are the primary species managed by the Council because sockeye, chum, and steelhead are rarely caught in ocean fisheries. The Council also manages certain pink salmon fisheries near the Canadian border. The Council-managed salmon fisheries provide for commercial, recreational, and tribal harvest. The Council's Salmon Fishery Management Plan describes conservation and allocation objectives for the fishery, and procedures for developing and implementing annual fishing regimes. The plan seeks to allocate harvest among the different groups, providing for both ocean and inland harvest, and advances key conservation objectives to ensure spawners from each stock reach their natal streams to reproduce.
Each year, the Council develops recommendations for management of the ocean fisheries. Following the release of reports documenting the previous season and estimating salmon abundance for the upcoming season, the Council holds a series of public meetings and proposes season alternatives by March. Public hearings are held on these alternatives and the Council adopts recommendations in April. The recommendations are submitted to NOAA Fisheries, which then implements the actions through its regulatory channels under the Endangered Species Act and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The regulations are in effect from May 1 through April 30 of the following year.