History of Fishing in the Pacific Northwest
Fishing and utilizing the marine waters for sustenance has a long history along the coast of WA, OR and N. CA., and within the inland marine waters of the Salish Sea. Coastal and Salish Sea native tribes in the region relied on fish and shellfish for food since their beginnings. In the early 1800’s commercial salmon fishing by non-natives began on the Columbia River. The early economies of Oregon, Washington, and N. California were built on fishing, along with logging and farming, which continues to be important industries to this day. Natives and non-natives alike view fish and fishing as a cultural identity, economic necessity, and most recently part of an environmental system that needs conserving. Tribal and state governments now work together to monitor the recruitment, return and harvest of salmon and shellfish.
Northwest Fisheries Today
Fisheries management today is a complex environment involving cooperative processes which include U.S. federal, multi-state, multi-tribal and Canadian representatives.
- Inland fisheries are managed by the states of California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.
- The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) manages the coastal waters to 200 miles off the coasts for Washington, Oregon and California.
- The annual North of Falcon process governs the inland marine water for salmon fishing in Puget Sound, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and Washington State rivers.
- Salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries are co-managed by the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, four treaty tribes and other tribes that traditionally have fished in those waters.
- The 1985 Pacific Salmon Treaty, developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Canada, is implemented by the eight-member bilateral Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC), which includes representatives of federal, state and tribal governments across both borders.
There is a growing need for information on a larger scope to support these management organizations, including habitat evaluations, recruitment and dispersal analysis, harvest rates and totals, and ecosystem monitoring.
Fisheries and NANOOS
Fisheries and Marine Biodiversity is identified as one of the priority areas for NANOOS to host and disseminate data to user groups. The infrastructure developed and supported by NANOOS allows for real-time and near real-time measurements of global ocean processes, regional coastal and inland marine processes, and more local estuarine processes. This information is currently being utilized by fishers, shellfish growers, and regional managers. Currently, the NANOOS structure of forecasts and data display on the bio-physical environment permit better-informed trip decisions by ocean-going fishers as well as management decisions by shellfish growers and regional resource managers.
NANOOS Involvement in Fisheries
Measurements in Hood Canal are used to predict, observe, and inform management agencies and the public about low oxygen events and related fish kills.
In response to state declared “oyster emergency”, a buoy was relocated closer to oyster hatcheries in Hood Canal to monitor water conditions (including acidity) related to hatchery failure.
To support management by the Quinault Indian Nation Dept of Fisheries, a glider collects data from the WA shelf to characterize upwelled water, detection of hypoxia, and biological blooms.
Sea surface current data are used to characterize the dispersal of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to beaches supporting the recreational razor clam fishery.
Data from the northern OR shelf and along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers support salmon ocean-survival biological opinions, including those related to hydropower management.
Water quality data are used to support decisions by commercial oyster growers and oyster restoration managers in Coos Bay.
Fisheries & Marine Biodiversity Special Topics
Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning
Related NANOOS Products
Forecast Information and Data Products for Fishers
Information and data products oriented towards commercial and recreational albacore tuna fishing communities.
Puget Sound Networked Profiling Buoy
Data from a profiling buoy located at Point Wells (north of Seattle). The sensor package measures a depth profile of oceanographic variables every hour from the sea surface to the sea bed.
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Puget Sound ORCA
Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) measures physical, chemical, and biological water characteristics in Hood Canal.
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Water Quality Data for Shellfish Growers
Real-time Water Quality Data for Shellfish Growers. A pilot project between NANOOS and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
CMOP/NANOOS Phoebe Glider (Quinault) Transect
Research mission is to support sustained characterization of events and gradient regions in the Washington shelf, with focus on the Grays Harbor line, and help enhance models.
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NANOOS members involved in this effort include: