OLYMPIA, Wash. 一 On March 1, the state of Washington imposed a statewide closure to coastal steelhead fishing in an effort to meet management objectives and provide necessary protection for wild steelhead populations. The closure will apply throughout the Washington coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The closure follows preliminary data, which suggests the forecasted returns are likely to come back as low as 30 percent of what fishery managers expected. This is perhaps the lowest return ever recorded in some rivers. “Throughout our conversations with anglers and the broader coastal community, we’ve been upfront about our commitment to designing fisheries that meet our conservation objectives,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW fish program director, in a Feb. 23 press release. “With this preliminary data in hand that now suggests coastal steelhead returns are significantly lower than we expected, we need to take bold, swift actions for the future of these runs.” For more information about coastal steelhead management, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/coastal-steelhead.
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