Gov. Jay Inslee is requesting the federal government declare a "commercial fishery failure" in Washington after two consecutive years of poor salmon runs.
In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Inslee asked for a declaration for the 2015 Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay non-treaty commercial salmon fisheries.
"Salmon fisheries throughout Washington were affected by the poor return of coho in 2015, with statewide commercial coho catch being less than 20-percent of the recent 5-year average, and ex-vessel value being less than 15-percent of the recent 5-year average," Inslee wrote.
Coho runs were predicted at historic lows for 2016 as well, with tight restrictions placed around Puget Sound. In his letter, Inslee adds that he may request further relief for fisheries affected in 2016.
"These impacts may extend to salmon fisheries in other parts of Washington due to the limitations imposed on fisheries for other species based on the need to limit interceptions of coho returning at critically low levels," Inslee wrote.