The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anglers who catch Atlantic salmon that escaped from a salmon farm last Saturday to report their catch online.
Anglers are not required to log Atlantic salmon on their catch record cards, state fish managers are requesting that they report their catch online in an effort to track fish being caught.
The form for reporting can be found online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic_salmon_catch.php.
“We’re hoping to track how many Atlantic salmon have been recovered by sport anglers and how far those fish have dispersed,” said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s fish program. “If you’ve caught one of these fish over the last few days, or if you catch one in the near future, please let us know.”
Warren said the escaped Atlantic salmon are 8 to 10 pounds in size and are safe for people to eat.
Cooke Aquaculture notified the department of a pen failure August 19 that allowed the Atlantic salmon to escape. The net pen held 305,000 salmon but the number of escaped Atlantic salmon is still undetermined.
The department is working to determine the number of fish that actually escaped.
Anglers must have a current fishing license, although there is no size or catch limit on Atlantic salmon.
However, anglers may only fish for Atlantic salmon in marine waters that are already open to fishing for Pacific salmon or freshwater areas open to fishing for trout or Pacific salmon.
Anglers also must stop fishing for Atlantic salmon once they’ve caught their daily limit of Pacific salmon in marine waters or their daily limit of trout or Pacific salmon in freshwater.