The decision came as part of a broader effort, involving state agencies in Oregon as well as the National Marine Fisheries Service, to cancel ocean salmon fishing along much of the coast, from Cape Falcon,Oregon,to the US-Mexico border. The ban aims to protect the Chinook species of salmon,which previously inhabited several of the state’s largest rivers & in recent years have been seen in dwindling numbers.
Owing to multiple atmospheric river storms in California, rivers on land are roaring, but the effects of years of drought are now being seen on the salmon population, CBS Bay Area reported. Last year, just 60,000 of the adult fish returned to the Sacramento River to spawn, last year, officials said. According to the Fish & Wildlife Department,this was a small fraction of the 196,000 fish expected there & approached a record annual low for the area. It is also hoped by the officials that the fishing ban will prevent the Chinook population from decreasing further in the Klamath River, which is also threatened.
Wildlife officials said the Pacific Fishery Management Council has proposed additional policies to regulate salmon fishing off the coast of California through the spring of 2024. The council approved, at the end of last week, proposals banning commercial & ocean salmon sport fishing until April of next year.
The CBS Bay Area reported that this is the second time in history that California has cancelled fishing season, with the last ban taking place between 2008 & 2009 in response to another prolonged drought period.
John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association, said, “Fishery managers have determined that there simply aren’t enough salmon in the ocean right now to comfortably get a return of adult salmon to reproduce for 2023.” Jared Davis, who operates a charter boat for sport fishermen, told the CBS Bay Area station that his entire summer has been wiped out. He told the station, “This is more than just an income issue for me. It’s an inability to do what I love. So, on a financial level and on a personal level, it’s devastating.”
Alaska wildlife officials were prompted to cancel the winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea near the end of last year, for the first time in the state’s history.