"SAN DIEGO – California officials want federal disaster aid for the state's
salmon fishing industry, they said Friday following the closure of recreational
and commercial king salmon fishing seasons along much of the West Coast due to
near-record low numbers of the iconic fish returning to their spawning grounds.
Dealing a blow to the salmon fishing industry, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council unanimously approved the closure Thursday for fall-run chinook fishing
from Cape Falcon in northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border. Limited
recreational salmon fishing will be allowed off southern Oregon in the fall.
Much of the salmon caught off Oregon originate in California’s Klamath and
Sacramento rivers. After hatching in freshwater, they spend an average of three
years maturing in the Pacific, where many are snagged by commercial fishermen,
before migrating back to their spawning grounds, where conditions are more
ideal to give birth. After laying eggs, they die.
“The forecasts for chinook returning to California rivers this year are near
record lows,” Council Chair Marc Gorelnik said after the vote in a news
release. “The poor conditions in the freshwater environment that contributed to
these low forecasted returns are unfortunately not something that the Council
can or has authority to control."
Biologists say the chinook population has declined dramatically after years of
drought. Many in the fishing industry say a rollback of federal protections for
endangered salmon under the Trump administration allowed more water to be
diverted from the Sacramento River Basin to agriculture, causing even more
Via Lisa Stranger.
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