[env-trinity] Eureka Times Standard 1 7 10
bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 7 15:00:22 PST 2010
Analysis under way for 2010 salmon season
By John Driscoll
State biologists will be crunching numbers and counting fish over the next
several weeks in a process that will determine the quality of the West Coast
salmon season this year.
Early reports that poor adult salmon runs in the Sacramento River system
foretell a bleak season have begun to circulate, but biologists are
cautioning that it's far too early to tell.
It will be early February before biologists have a clear perspective on the
potential for commercial and sport salmon seasons in 2010 -- particularly
important after two years that devastated the California salmon fishing
In 2008 and 2009, commercial salmon fishing was shut down on much of the
West Coast because of dire predictions for salmon runs in the Sacramento
River watershed, the key fishery for the region. In 2009, big estimates for
returns to the Klamath River allowed a token 10-day ocean sport fishery in
the Eureka and Crescent City areas.
Eureka commercial fisherman Dave Bitts said that he's fed up by media and
other reports claiming 2010 may be a bust, too. He said it's too soon to
know what kind of a season fishermen have to look forward to in the coming
"We're not going to know until February," Bitts said. "That's just the way
While some hatcheries in the Sacramento River system are reporting poor
returns of 3-year-old adult fall chinook salmon, others have reached their
quota for spawners, said California Department of Fish and Game spokesman
Adult fish aren't the best indicator of the abundance of salmon in the ocean
in the coming season. A better measure is 2-year-old salmon called jacks, a
certain number of which return to the river early. A clear picture of how
many jacks swam up the Sacramento River has not been put together yet, so
it's not possible to estimate how many adult fish may be at sea this coming
"What we're doing right now is tabulating all the information including the
jack count," Morse said.
Federal and state fisheries biologists also must consider runs of chinook
and coho salmon in other rivers on the coast in determining how many can be
taken, when, and in what areas.
The Klamath River salmon run -- which can stifle fishing opportunity in the
ocean if it is poor -- appears about average so far, said California
Department of Fish and Game biologist Wade Sinnen. But a careful analysis
needs to be done to determine how many adult fish and jacks swam up the
Klamath and Trinity rivers, he said.
"Really, it's too early," Sinnen said.
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/fax (call first to fax)
415 519 4810 mobile
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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