Encounter and Release Rates for Salmonids, Birds, and
Marine Mammals in the Marine Sport Salmon Fishery in Puget
Department of Fish and Wildlife
December 28, 1998
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.