"The goals are very similar to what Oregon is trying to accomplish with the Klamath River runs, but we're a year behind," Goldenberg said. "This is a pilot project for us, to get the kinks worked out, get the sampling procedures under our belts, and to hopefully secure federal funding for next year. We'd like to involve 100 to 150 boats next year.
"The other objective is to spread the word among the fleet that this research is not something to be afraid of," Goldenberg added.
In Oregon, the fishing industry has gotten the message loud and clear and welcome the research, Sylvia said. Many of the fishermen are particularly interested in some of the oceanographic data the researchers gathered last year, using buoys and programmable undersea gliders to determine the ocean's temperature, salinity, chlorophyll level and dissolved oxygen content in the areas the fish were caught.
"I started fishing in 1970 and this is the most optimistic I've been about any kind of research relating to salmon," said Paul Merz, one of the project's fisherman who fishes out of Charleston. "I'm still a cynic when it comes to management decisions. But this is the science that has been missing in all of the policy arguments and it's something where you can see the immediate results."
Two other new initiatives will be part of Project CROOS in 2007, according to Sylvia. The OSU researchers will work with fishery managers to create a trial management simulation model for ocean salmon fishing.
"Before the science can realistically lead to new management protocols, we need to start thinking about the logistics of such a system," Sylvia said. "Right now, we don't even know all of the questions to ask. But if we start looking at such a management system even in its roughest form some of the challenges and opportunities will become clear."