The Pacific Fishery Management Council's primary options, adopted by the federal fishery panel for this year's Washington ocean fishery, points to an excellent return of both coho and Chinook.
Butch Smith of Ilwaco, who is a member of the council, voiced an enthusiastic response when questioned of his opinions of the options, which include:
Option 1: 59,600 Chinook and 225,000 coho;
Option 2: 56,000 Chinook and 187,500 coho;
Option 3: 47,500 Chinook and 150,000 coho.
By comparison, the 2002 recreational ocean fishing quotas were 60,252 Chinook and 109,630 coho.
"My guess, and this only an educated guess, is that the final option would probably rest somewhere between Option 1 and Option 2," Smith said. "The council is not bound to pick any particular option but may negotiate and choose any combination of such.
"I also think that we have about an 80 percent chance of a June 29 ocean opener. The ocean season will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays, by design, enabling the coastal fishing communities economies to take advantage of the public's typical summer vacation schedule."
Other options that may be put into effect are a proposal to increase the minimum size required for Chinook salmon retention from the current 24-inch limit to 26-inches.
All recreational ocean coho fisheries proposed for 2003 would be under selective fishing rules where fishermen could keep only hatchery coho.
Fishery managers expect to complete the fishing package at the conclusion of PFMC's final preseason meeting set for April 7-11 in Vancouver.