Chum salmon fisheries are well in progress and as of November 11, the Squaxin Island Tribe fishermen have harvested approximately 25, 136 chum at a value of $133,853. This year’s chum catch is predicted to be just below the ten year average harvest by our Squaxin fishermen.
Our chum fisheries target healthy South Puget Sound wild chum stocks from Eld Inlet, Totten Inlet, Hammersley Inlet, Skookum Inlet, and Case Inlet. Northern Tribes and Washington State Non-Tribal fisheries target these stocks as well.
During the Chum salmon season Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission conducts the Apple Tree Cove Chum test fishery in Area 10 (Near Kingston, Washington), weekly for four weeks. In this test fishery the catches are used to update the inseason Puget Sound Fall Chum runsize. Catch results are plugged into a model with historical test fishery data to determine a runsize. After each of these test fisheries, harvest managers from Washington Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Puget Sound Tribes conference call on the results as well as share regional catches. Based on this data the harvest managers make a decision to increase or decrease the Puget Sound Chum runsize. WDFW and the northern Tribes fisheries are based on the runsize and determine their available catch allocation.
While Non-Tribal fleet, recreational and our neighboring Tribes to the north are fishing, the extreme terminal Tribes are relying on chum making it to the streams to spawn (escapement). Squaxin Chum fisheries are based on escapement of Fall Chum runs into the Deep South Sound inlets. To ensure our local Fall Chum stocks reach escapement goals, Squaxin Natural Resources and WDFW staff conducts stream surveys to count spawning chum. These stream counts along with the Squaxin Island Tribe’s attentively timed fisheries allows for regional escapement to be met. Squaxin bears the burden of escapement of chum in our streams.
Inlet escapement goalsEven Years Odd Years Totten= 14,400 11,500 Skookum= 2,100 1,500 Eld= 18,500 14,500 Hammersley= 17,000 13,500 Case= 1,800 1,500
Inlet escapement goals are on an even/odd basis that correlates with Pink salmon runs. Pink Salmon returns occur in odd years.
If you have any questions regarding Squaxin salmon fisheries management please contact Joseph Peters at 360-432-3813 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.