The PFMC's adopted options for the 2005 ocean salmon fisheries are not at all optimistic. The anticipated weak returns of coho salmon to the lower Columbia River and to B.C.'s Thompson River mean that there will be fewer fish for the Washington coastal fishery this summer. Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said, "There should still be excellent fisheries along the coast this summer. These fisheries provide great recreational opportunity and have an important economic impact to many coastal communities."

But the numbers tell the real story. The proposed ocean recreational options are:

• 30,000 Chinook and 75,600 coho

• 37,000 Chinook and 105,000 coho or

• 45,000 Chinook and 134,000 coho

Final recreational fishing quotas for 2004 were 44,500 Chinook and 202,500 coho.

If recreational fishermen are lucky, they get the middle option, which is usually the case but not a sure bet. Even with that scenario they would still lose 7,000 Chinook and almost 100,000 coho.

The earliest date for the Columbia River Ocean to open would be July 3, while the latest opening date would be July 17.

The PFMC will adopt final sport, commercial and Treaty Indian ocean fishing quotas when the federal panel meets April 4 through 8 in Tacoma.

Removing fish from the waterEffective March 16 through May 31, in those waters of the Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream, that are open during steelhead and spring Chinook seasons, it is unlawful when fishing from vessels that are less than 30-feet in length to totally remove salmon or steelhead from the water if it is unlawful to retain those salmon or steelhead.

Summer in the middle of MarchWhile all the talk is about the nonexistent winter and summer in the middle of March, time will come to pay the piper. The State of Washington has already been classified as in a drought condition and the worst is yet to come. As the fire seasons move upon us you can expect forest fires that will kill a high percentage of wildlife, as their habitat is destroyed. The snowmelt during the summer that flows through the rivers, inviting thousands of salmon and steelhead to spawn, will be nonexistent and the lack of river flows needed to protect the hatched salmon smolt will prove to be their downfall. The salmon at the mouth of the once "Mighty Columbia" will mull in the ocean, becoming redder by the day. Rain is vital to the economy and wildlife and we need it now.

Nautical Trivia and PhrasesChart - From the Latin word "charta" or the Greek, "charte," which was a kind of papyrus (writing paper). In Middle English, the chart or maps were known as "sea cards."

Broach - Middle English - brocus, or "projecting." Originally used to describe the piercing of a cask to open it. The term was eventually used to describe the opening of a new subject in conversation. It was also used to describe when a ship is turned sideways to a wave, extremis and is possibly sinking or about to breakup. The possible origins of this particular term is from the action of the masts trusting through the oncoming waves while the ship is full over on it's side.

Ron Malast is owner/operator of the charter boat Big Dipper booking through Pacific Salmon Charters in Ilwaco (800) 831-2695

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