Summary

In April, annual catch limits will be set for ocean Chinook salmon fishing in waters off Washington, Oregon and California. Scientific models estimate salmon populations, and calculate the maximum possible catch for commercial and tribal fisheries, plus recreational, all while attempting to ensure enough Chinook can return to their home rivers to spawn.

Why it Matters

Here’s the real catch: salmon fisheries are managed to maximize catch for humans, when an entire ecosystem is also reliant on these species. In fact, government scientists at NOAA just published a new study that shows Chinook are essential year-round to the Southern Resident killer whales, especially in offshore waters. Yet the proposal for the 2021 fishing season fall short in considering the needs of these endangered whales.

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Take Action

Tell the Pacific Fishery Management Council you support leaving more Chinook salmon in the Pacific for endangered killer whales this fishing season.
Submit Comments Now on Item D6What to Say
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Step-by-Step Instructions

Chinook Salmon are Endangered Too

Pacific salmon spawn in rivers from California to Alaska, even landlocked Idaho. Wild Chinook from different rivers are classed as unique populations, due to their genetic differences. The Endangered Species Act determines when populations are low enough to be listed as endangered, or threatened with extinction. Nine Chinook populations make this list.

Managing Pacific ocean salmon fisheries is incredibly complex. Multiple species of salmon from many rivers—and of varying conservation status—mix together as they forage in the Pacific. Ocean fisheries can find it extremely difficult to avoid catching a specific salmon species, let alone preventing catch of an individual from an endangered population.

Prize Catch

Chinook are the largest of the Pacific salmon species, spending up to six years roaming the ocean in search of food to reach their maximum size. This “fatty” species is most prized by the Southern Resident killer whales, fished preferentially over other salmons, both by whales and fishermen.

Unfortunately, over the last 100 years Chinook has been overfished, and due to this fishing pressure, their maximum size and weight has fallen dramatically by fishing out the largest, and leaving smaller fish to reproduce—natural selection in reverse. Is there a solution? More fishing closer to selected river mouths would help avoid catching endangered salmon on their way home to spawn.


What to Say

You can use one or more of our suggested comments, &then add your own words to make it unique and personal.

Nine populations of Chinook are listed under the Endangered Species Act, along with the Southern Resident killer whales that depend on them. According to the latest NOAA study, Chinook is critical year-round for their recovery. Please increase the amount of Chinook available this fishing season to support their needs.


Fishing for salmon in the Pacific Ocean risks catching Chinook from endangered populations. Reducing offshore ocean Chinook fisheries and targeting these fish closer to their final river destination will help endangered salmon, and the orcas that depend on them.


In order to save the Southern Resident killer whales from extinction, we need to also recover endangered wild Chinook. Increasing populations of salmon will be beneficial to humans and killer whales alike. Please consider the needs of these whales when setting this year’s annual catch limits. We may not have many fishing seasons left to save them.


The Southern Resident killer whales are heading to extinction due to a lack of Chinook salmon. Please consider their needs when setting 2021 ocean fishing quotas. Reducing offshore fishing will increase the number of Chinook available for endangered orcas, before it’s too late to save them.

Comment Now (D6)
The Comment Period has now closed. Thank you!
Step-by-Step Instructions

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Go to April 2021 Council Meeting – Briefing Book Public Comments
  2. Scroll page to item D. Salmon Management
  3. Find D6 & select   2021 Management Measures – Final Action
  4. Enter your full name
  5. Organization: Leave blank
  6. Add your email address
  7. Comments: Adapt our suggestions with your own
  8. Attachments: Ignore
  9. Check: “I’m not a robot” & complete the task
Comment Now - Item D6
Comment on D6 Salmon Management: 2021 Management Measures - Final Action