State observations indicate lower steelhead mortality

in this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, salmon, identified by biologists as a coho, left, and a Chinook, swim past viewing windows at a fish ladder where salt water transitions to fresh at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. The mass of warm water known as 'the blob' that heated up the North Pacific Ocean has dissipated, but scientists are still seeing the lingering effects of those unusually warm sea surface temperatures on Northwest salmon and steelhead. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — Preliminary data gathered by Oregon and Washington state observers shows gillnet fishermen on the Columbia River may be killing fewer steelhead fish while trying to catch other fish.

The Daily Astorian reports the state observations of the fishermen last year indicate steelhead mortality may be much lower than the historic rate of about 49 percent.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say the steelhead mortality rate fell between 8 and 24 percent in 2009, 2012 and 2017.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say the mortality rate may have been overestimated in the past, but the new findings still require some independent review.

The new data will be presented to regulatory commissions as officials plan for the upcoming fishing seasons on the Columbia River.

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Information from: The Daily Astorian, http://www.dailyastorian.com

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