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Ocean chinook seasons still up for debate

Photo by Mark FreemanMail Tribune photographer Jamie Lusch holds a chinook salmon landed while ocean fishing near Brookings in 2018.

Southern Oregon ocean anglers could see a shortened season for chinook salmon this summer amid efforts by federal fish managers to curb catch rates to protect salmon headed to California’s Klamath River.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council last week finalized three alternatives for recreational ocean fishing for chinook this summer off Southern Oregon, with the Port of Brookings-Harbor the most popular destination.

One option sees the chinook season here running May 21-June 27, while a similar-length option sees chinook fishing June 25-July 31. The final option proposes fishing July 1-Aug. 9.

The options are based on anglers catching no more than 16% of 4-year-old Klamath River chinook now in the ocean, PFMC data states. The buffer in recent years has been 16%, records show.

The council, which is not bound to pick a singular option, is set to adopt seasons during its scheduled meeting April 6-13 in Seattle.

Public comments will be accepted online through April 5 at https://pfmc.psmfc.org/Meeting/Details/2893.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com.