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Environment and Planning

Forecasts Predict Low Salmon Returns In Washington This Year

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
File photo. Wildlife officials expect returns of salmon in Washington state will be low this year.

Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state—and that could change the fishing outlook.??

Forecasts for four species of salmon—chinook, coho, sockeye and chum—are likely to limit fishing opportunities this year. ??

Kyle Adicks is the intergovernmental salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. ??

“We have a growing population that isn’t necessarily good for salmon habitat,” he said. “We have a lot of people that value salmon—like to go out and catch them, like to see them spawning in our streams, like to see killer whales eating them in Puget Sound, but it’s kind of a resource that has been shrinking over time.”??

That shrinking could be connected to declining ocean conditions, among other factors. ??

With the forecasted numbers in hand, fisheries managers will kick off a month-and-a-half long process next week to craft the guidelines for the 2018 fishing seasons in Puget Sound, along the coastline and up and down the Columbia River.