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Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Tue Mar 10 09:31:09 PDT 2009

Salmon season may shut down again this year

 <mailto:pfimrite at sfchronicle.com> Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



(03-09) 18:07 PST San Francisco -- 

You know the fish aren't jumpin' when the very people who make their living
reeling in chinook salmon are proposing a ban on ocean fishing for a second
straight year.


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5D45.DTL> Gov't forcing wildlife group to ID leak's source 03.10.09 

That is exactly what happened Monday at the annual Pacific Fishery
Management Council meetings in Seattle, where the gory details of the
catastrophic decline of California's salmon has become woefully apparent.

Fishing-industry representatives on a council advisory panel looked at the
dismal state of the fall run of Sacramento River salmon and proposed closing
the 2009 ocean salmon fishing season, except, perhaps, for a bit of
recreational fishing near the Oregon border.

"It is pretty simple in California," said Peter Dygert, a fishery biologist
for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service.
"Both the recreational and commercial trollers on the advisory panel have
proposed no fishing."

The management council, a 14-member federal panel that manages the Pacific
Coast fishery, is expected to come up with three options for ocean fishing
after a week of testimony and the digestion of mounds of documents and

There isn't much mystery about what the council will propose, given that the
folks most likely to lobby for more fishing are proposing the elimination of
the season. The only thing to decide, really, is whether to allow
recreational fishing on certain dates in the summer from the Oregon border
south to a spot near the mouth of the Klamath River, which had a slightly
better salmon return than the Central Valley river system.

The current proposals would allow sportfishing over the July 4 weekend and
from Aug. 15 to Sept. 7. An alternate plan would allow it only from Aug. 29
to Sept. 7. 

Biologists estimated only 66,000 adult salmon returned to spawn last fall in
the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, based on a count of egg nests in the
river bed. It was the lowest return on record. The collapse caused
regulators to ban ocean salmon fishing in California and most of Oregon last

The collapse led to an emergency declaration and appropriation of federal
disaster assistance to keep fishing businesses alive. 

The dismal spawning numbers are expected to continue this year. Fisheries
biologists are projecting that the fall run of chinook in the system this
year will be a little bit higher than last year. Still, the numbers will
barely reach the council's spawning goals even if there is no fishing,
according to the projections.

Both the Klamath and Sacramento rivers have suffered recently from extremely
low returns. Declines have also been seen in the Columbia-Snake River System
over the past several years.

Last year, more than 2,200 fishermen and fishing-related business workers
lost their jobs. Fishing communities and fishing-related businesses lost
more than $250 million, according to some estimates. Indirect economic
impacts were even higher, according to fishing industry representatives. 

The collapse in California is especially troubling because the Central
Valley fall run of chinook has for many years been the backbone of the West
Coast fishing industry. Big salmon from the Sacramento River have been
reeled in as far north as Alaska, according to biologists. 

The council is considering allowing fishing of only hatchery fish -
identifiable because their fleshy adipose fins are removed - off the Oregon
coast. Meanwhile, more than 75 commercial and recreational fishing
associations and conservation organizations signed a letter Monday urging
President Obama to create a new position of salmon director to help restore
the West Coast salmon populations, protect fishing jobs and rebuild the
salmon economy.

A final decision on the ban and the hatchery fishing is expected in early



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

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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