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Fish from Washington's coastal commercial troll Chinook fishery are a more sustainable way to eat salmon

Washington Fish and Wildlife asks customers to keep an eye out for the first fresh, locally-caught salmon of the season to arrive at local seafood markets.

WASHINGTON, USA — Washington Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) says the coastal commercial troll Chinook fishery will begin May 1, and encourages customers to keep an eye out for locally caught salmon. It says the fishery is unique for both its economic and environmental impacts.

"A lot of the people who hold troller permits are families that have been doing this for generations in Washington state," WDFW Marine Salmon Fisheries Policy Coordinator Dr. Alexandrea Safiq said. "It's also a really great fishery in that it's really sustainable. Trollers use fish and line gear to catch individual salmon one at a time which means that if a salmon isn't big enough to keep they can release it while it's still alive."

Fisherman Geoff Lebon says trollers catch different stocks throughout the summer and pace their fishing to fit the market, keeping costs lower for customers.

"The thing about WA troll fishery is we supply the consumer, which is 90% of taxpayers in Washington state, access to the fish that they pay taxes on to produce, protect and preserve," Lebon said. "We're fishing May through late August and we give you access to those fish all summer long- which is when you want to have them, on a nice barbecue for the summer."

WDFW says while Alaska-caught salmon are often popular, fish caught off the coast of Washington don't have to be transported in and have low impacts from processing or delivery to market.

"The process of getting the fish from the ocean to market is very short," Dr. Safiq said. "These fish never get on a plane, they're processed on the boats, they're caught carefully and then they are stunned, bled, prepared and processed and a few short days later they arrive in markets and restaurants."

WDFW says all commercial fishermen that troll for salmon are owners and operators. The fishery consists of 152 permits, with about 79 having harvested salmon in 2022. 

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