Encounter and Release Rate for Salmonids,...
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REPORT TITLE:  Encounter and Release Rates for Salmonids, Birds, and Marine Mammals in the Marine Sport Salmon Fishery in Puget Sound, Washington

AUTHOR: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

PUBLISH DATE:  December 28, 1998

AVAILABLE FROM:  National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE, BIN C15700, Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115.   TELEPHONE:  (206) 526-6115


The sport fishery encounter rate for nontarget species was estimated during the 1997 sport salmon fishing season in the Strait of Juan De Fuca and Puget Sound in Catch Record Card (CRC) Areas 4, 5, 8, and 10.  Similar estimates were made in 1998 for CRC Area 5.  The fisheries sampled covered a wide range of regulatory regimes including both single-species and multiple-species retention.  Anglers were observed in the process of bringing fish to the boat, and the outcome of these interactions was recorded.   The proportion of salmon encountered that were released was estimated, as were rates of bird, marine mammal, and bottomfish encounter, and the rate of drop-offs.   The incidence of adipose fin clip marks on coho was recorded during the 1998 observations in CRC Area 5.  In most cases the species composition of the catch from direct on-the-water observation was not statistically different from that reported by samplers conducting dockside interviews of anglers' catch.  The proportion of salmon observed released during on-the-water observations was significantly lower than the proportion of salmon reported released by anglers surveyed at the dock.  Estimated salmon release rates were highest in mixed-stock fisheries where it was not legal to retain all species.  Lower release rates occurred when all, or the most abundant, salmon species could be retained.  Observed angler hook-ups resulted in a salmon being brought to the boat approximately 79% of the time.  Approximately 14% of the observed hook-ups resulted in drop-offs.  The remainder of the hook-ups were bottomfish, mackerel, and a small number of seabirds.  None of the observed bird encounters was acutely lethal.  Marine mammal interactions were below the detection rate of these studies.

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