[env-trinity] SF Chron 4 8 09

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Apr 9 10:40:41 PDT 2009

U.S. to ban commercial salmon season

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

Thursday, April 9, 2009



(04-08) 19:52 PDT Millbrae -- Lovers of king salmon will have to settle for
fish hooked in the Pacific Northwest this year under a federal agency's
recommendation Wednesday to ban the commercial catching of salmon off
California and much of Oregon in an attempt to save the fabled fish.



TL&o=0> Fisherman Steve Crotty, who used to go out after chinook ...
TL&o=1> Offshore salmon fishing ban area (Chronicle Graphic)
TL&o=> http://imgs.sfgate.com/graphics/utils/plus-green.gifView Larger


024745D16.DTL> FBI joins effort in hostage standoff with pirates 04.09.09 

The move, which the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to make
final by May 1, comes after the fewest chinook salmon ever recorded made
their way up the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers last fall.

"There are just no fish," said Zeke Grader, executive director of the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "If they allowed any
fishing, they would be putting at risk future fishing."

Wednesday's decision by the 14-member Pacific Fishery Management Council,
meeting in Millbrae, marks the second year in a row that commercial
fishermen will not be allowed to reel in chinook.

Only 87,881 0f the fish returned to the once-thriving salmon factory known
as the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system in 2007, and a record low of
66,286 returned last year, according to estimates extrapolated from a count
of egg nests in riverbeds.

Fisheries biologists are projecting that, even without fishing this summer,
the fall run of chinook will be almost twice as plentiful as last year's,
but the numbers will barely reach the council's minimum goal of 122,000

A fishing ban this summer had been expected since March, when none of the
three options outlined by the council included commercial fishing in the two

The council, established three decades ago to manage the Pacific Coast
fishery, advised that some sport fishing be allowed in California and
Oregon, mostly where the much-improved Klamath River salmon runs are

The Klamath and Trinity river runs were declared a disaster in 2006, but
runs there are looking better than the Sacramento this year. Recreational
fishermen would be allowed to take chinook from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7 from the
mouth of the Klamath River to southern Oregon.

Some commercial and sportfishing of hatchery-raised coho salmon -
identifiable because the fleshy adipose fins have been removed - will be
allowed in Oregon during July and August.

The Sacramento River's spawning run was the last great salmon run along the
giant Central Valley river system, which includes the San Joaquin River,
where leaping, wriggling chinook were once so plentiful that old-timers
recalled reaching in and plucking fish right out of the water.

Chinook, known scientifically as Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, hatch in rivers
and streams. Also known as king, spring or tyee salmon, they pass through
San Francisco Bay and roam the Pacific Ocean as far away as Alaska before
returning three years later to spawn where they were born in the Sacramento
River and its tributaries. 

The fall run in September and October has for decades been the backbone of
the West Coast fishing industry. At its peak, it exceeded 800,000 fish. Over
the past decade, the number of spawners had consistently topped 250,000.

A study last month by federal, state and academic scientists blamed the
collapse of the fishery on poor conditions in both the ocean and river.

Destruction of river habitat, water diversions and dams in the Central
Valley so weakened the fall run that it couldn't withstand two recent years
of scanty food supply in the warming Pacific Ocean, according to the study
commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Exacerbating the problem, researchers said, was the demise of three other
distinct runs of salmon - winter, spring and late fall - and the reliance on
less genetically diverse hatchery fish instead of naturally spawning wild
populations of chinook. 

Whatever the cause, more than 2,200 fishermen and fishing industry workers
lost their jobs as a result of last year's ban. While they received federal
disaster aid, fishing communities and fishing-related businesses lost more
than $250 million.

"We just need to decide that we value wild California king salmon," said
Larry Collins, a San Francisco salmon and crab fisherman. "We know what to
do to make these runs healthier. Until we leave enough water in the rivers
for the salmon, we're going to continue to be up against it."

Restrictions on river fishing will be decided in May or June by the
California Department of Fish and Game, which allowed about 600 chinook to
be caught last year, angering commercial fishermen who opposed any fishing.

"The best thing fishermen can do this year is attend all the water board
hearings and let the governor know how his water policies are hurting our
industry," Grader said. "In the meantime, it's going to be a struggle."

Salmon peril by the numbers 


Number of chinook that spawned in Northern California each year for much of
the past decade


Number of salmon that returned to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system in


Record-low number of the fish that returned last year


Number of workers who lost their jobs as a result of last year's fishing ban



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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