[env-trinity] Santa Cruz Sentinel On Peter Moyle on Salmon
bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Mar 9 12:20:39 PDT 2009
Top salmon researcher says outlook for fish is grim
The Santa Cruz Sentinel - 3/07/09
By Kurtis Alexander
SANTA CRUZ -- The author of last year's landmark report on California's
salmon decline repeated his call or protective action Friday and said the
Central Coast's coho would be among the first fish to vanish if nothing is
"Extinction is not an abstract thing," said Peter Moyle, speaking before
hundreds of researchers at this week's Salmonid Restoration Conference, held
at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.
The warning, which Moyle sounded for most of the state's 31 salmon,
steelhead and trout species, comes as regulators consider closing the
fishing season yet another year for the California chinook -- the state's
foremost salmon fishery and a standard catch for local anglers and
"This is a crisis," said Moyle, a UC Davis professor who led the research
behind last year's grim California Trout report.
Moyle attributes the dwindling number of salmon, from chinook to coho, to
excessive water diversions, construction of dams and other changes to the
rivers where the fish spawn. Global warming, and its effect on stream
temperatures and food supplies, may be another factor.
Restoring streams and rivers to their natural flows, and coming up with the
money and political will to do so, would set the stage for recovery, Moyle
says. Without action, he estimates, 65 percent of the state's salmon species
will go extinct within 100 years.
Monterey Bay fishermen know the dim outlook all too well.
"It makes it impossible for the guys trying to hang in there and do this for
a living," said Tom Canale, 62, who sold his fishing boat at the Santa Cruz
harbor just a few years ago. "There really isn't much opportunity now."
The Santa Cruz Commercial Fishermen's Association counts about 70 members,
according to Canale, about 40 of whom rely primarily on salmon.
This fall, the state's largest run of chinook fell short for the second
straight year, numbering about 66,000 of the normal 122,000 when they
returned to spawn in the Sacramento River. The figure almost certainly means
federal regulators next month will curtail or cancel the salmon season,
which normally begins May 1.
Last year's closure, the first in history, cost the state $255 million and
2,263 jobs, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.
The Central Coast coho salmon, meanwhile, has been federally protected since
1996. While it's never had the commercial viability of the Sacramento River
chinook, researchers are trying to ensure its recovery by improving the
health of the local rivers and streams where the fish spawn.
A spawning pool was recently built on San Vicente Creek, and earlier this
week the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors eliminated a log-removal
program to increase the number of naturally forming pools so coho can
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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