• States, tribes and NOAA work together for wise harvest management

    Harvest management is an important part of efforts to restore salmon and steelhead. The ultimate goal is healthy, harvestable runs of fish.


    At the same time, the ESA requires that federal actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of listed stocks.  NOAA Fisheries is responsible for determining whether harvest regimes jeopardize listed stocks. It has issued biological opinions for three fisheries on the West Coast: ocean fishing between the U.S. and Canada (1999), coastal fishing off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California (2000) and Columbia River fishing (2008).


    In these biological opinions, NOAA Fisheries found that the proposed harvest levels do not jeopardize the fish because the allowed harvest levels have reduced compared to earlier time periods and the number of adults returning to the river has increased. 

    Watch this video of rockfish, kelp and Pacific halibut swimming around a video lander deployed to study their movements on a rocky reef off the coast of Newport, Oregon.


    In the Columbia River Basin, states and tribes, with the oversight of NOAA Fisheries and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, share management of harvest. The managers use analytical tools to predict of the size of the run and the desired “escapement,” or number of adult fish that survive to spawn.  These models allow managers to predict how many protected salmon are likely to be taken in a fishery. 


    Most hatcheries mark the hatchery fish when young by cutting the adipose (underneath) fin, so that fishermen can distinguish them from the protected wild stocks.  Anglers must throw back unmarked fish.


    Some states and tribes are exploring “selective harvest” methods that allow fisherman to collect and keep hatchery fish with less damage to the wild fish that are accidentally caught in nets.


  • Useful links to find out more

    Columbia River Compact.  State fish managers' forecasts and harvest allocations for commercial fisheries on the Columbia River.

    Pacific Fisheries Management Council  manages ocean fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California