Annual salmon management process

Each year at its March and April meetings the Council establishes management measures for commercial, tribal, and recreational salmon fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The management year for ocean salmon fisheries begins on May 1 and lasts for 12 months to the following April 31. To support Council decisionmaking the Council’s Salmon Technical Team and Council staff develop four documents that outline salmon management for the upcoming fishing year:

  • Review of Ocean Salmon Fisheries for the previous year (Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation, or SAFE, document)
  • Preseason Report I:  The forecast used to set salmon fisheries
  • Preseason Report II:  A description of the Council’s proposed ocean salmon management alternatives and their impacts on ocean salmon fisheries and stocks
  • Preseason Report III:  The Salmon Technical Team’s analysis of ocean salmon fishery management measures adopted by the Council for submission to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce

In addition, NMFS publishes an environmental assessment for the salmon management measures. For current past salmon seasons these documents are available through the links below as well as on the salmon SAFE page:

The Council salmon season setting process as described in Council Operating Procedure 10 is summarized below.

Date Salmon management action
January Salmon Technical Team (STT) and Council documents become available. Dates and locations of the two Council meeting, public hearings announced. Detailed schedule published. STT meets to draft the review of ocean salmon fisheries for the previous year.
February through early March STT meets in February to draft preseason report with stock abundance forecasts, harvest and escape estimates. State and Tribal management meetings take place. STT reports summarizing the previous salmon seasons (Review), and projections of expected salmon stock abundance for the coming season (Preseason I) are posted online.
First or second full week of March Council meeting. Typically three alternatives are adopted for review at public hearings. These alternatives are initially developed by the Salmon Advisory Subpanel (SAS), refined by the STT, then considered along with public comment by the Council. Council also considers any emergency actions needed.
Week following March Council meeting Public hearings announcement released. Preseason Report III released, outlining Council-adopted alternatives.
Prior to April Council meeting Agencies, tribes, and public meet to agree on allowable ocean and inside waters harvest levels north of Cape Falcon. The Council’s ocean fishery options are refined.
Last week of March and first week of April General time frame for formal public hearings on proposed salmon management alternatives.
First or second full week of April Council meeting. Final management measures recommended to National Marine Fisheries Service for adoption.
First week of May Final notice of Commerce decision. Final management measures published in Federal Register.