Skagit Basin steelhead fishery approved

NMFS has completed its review of the Skagit River steelhead resource management plan (Skagit RMP) and has determined that the plan is consistent with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead. This affirmative determination allows for fisheries that harvest ESA-listed, Skagit River steelhead, including directed fisheries. NMFS has concluded that fisheries conducted consistent with the co-manager-developed Skagit RMP will not jeopardize the continued existence of ESA-listed Puget Sound steelhead, nor reduce their likelihood of recovery.

This approval will allow an annual steelhead-directed fishery for Tribal and recreational fishers over the next 5 years, including the remainder of the 2018 spring season, which ends on April 30th, 2018. The co-managers will implement annual steelhead fisheries under the provisions of the Skagit RMP using an abundance-based, stepped total harvest rate between 4% and 25%, depending on the forecasted run size. Please see the State and Tribal Regulations for more information on the actual scheduled seasons (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/).

The resource management plan was submitted jointly by the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Skagit River System Cooperative, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for consideration under Limit 6 of the ESA section 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead (65 FR 42422, July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 FR 37160, June 28, 2005).

NMFS released its Proposed Evaluation and Pending Determination (PEPD) for a 30-day public review and comment period on December 7, 2017 (Federal Register notice (82 FR 57729, December 7, 2017)). NMFS received roughly 120 comments on our PEPD; NMFS considered all of these comments in developing this final decision.

For more information, please contact James Dixon, NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, at (360) 534-9329.

Resources

Final Skagit RMP Concurrence letter PDF Formatted Document 95kb

Skagit RMP Decision Memo PDF Formatted Document264kb

Biological Opinion PDF Formatted Document 2.9 MB

Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI): Impacts of the Skagit River Steelhead Fishery Resource Management Plan PDF Formatted Document 5.5 MB

Notice of Determination: Skagit River steelhead fisheries (83 FR 32283, July 12, 2018)