[env-trinity] PCFFA Press Release 5 27 2010
bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu May 27 14:40:02 PDT 2010
Nathaniel S. Bingham
Harold C. Christensen
Glen H. Spain
PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION
of FISHERMEN'S ASSOCIATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2010
Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (415)
Dick Pool, Water 4 Fish, (925) 963-6350
Larry Collins, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (415)
Fishermen Fear Delta Pump Ruling May Decimate Fall Salmon Run
Fall-Run Chinook Are the Mainstay of California's Salmon Fishery
San Francisco -- West Coast fishermen, shut out of fishing for the past two
years altogether and granted a 2010 fishery so tiny that most will simply
sit it out, fear that a Tuesday night ruling by Fresno-based judge Oliver
Wanger could be a serious disaster for the Sacramento River's fall-run
chinook ('king') salmon resource.
Sacramento River fall run chinook are the backbone of California's
150-year-old salmon fishery and a large contributor to Oregon and Washington
ocean fisheries as well. Strong runs of Sacramento River fall-run chinooks
returned to the Central Valley earlier in this decade - 768,000 adult fish
up to 50 pounds each found their way back to Valley streams in 2002. By
2009 that number had crashed to 39,530 fish, driven down in large part by
heavy increases in State Water Project pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin
While the Sacramento River's spring-run chinook juvenile fish have nearly
finished their migration through the Delta, the fall-run salmon and
endangered species act-listed steelhead will be migrating downstream through
most of June, as will those hatchery salmon released upstream.
The California Department of Water Resources is already ramping up its Delta
pumping, taking quick advantage of Wanger's ruling, from 1,500 cubic feet
per second to nearly 6,000 cubic feet per second.
Dick Pool, a Bay Area sports-fishing advocate, is concerned that this high
level of pumping from the Delta will not only suck baby salmon into the
pumps but will trap thousands of others trying to reach San Francisco Bay in
the central Delta where their chances of survival are slim. Pool
describes the risks: "There is no cover, little food and there are many
predators in the central Delta channels." Studies show that most young
salmon never make it to the pumping plant. "Most of them fall to predators
or perish before they make it to the State Water Project pumps" says Pool.
Under the Endangered Species Act, Wanger is only required to consider the
impacts of increased pumping on the critically low winter- and spring-run
chinook salmon and steelhead, a close chinook salmon relative.
Fishing families and communities along a thousand miles of coast have been
hard hit by the closure of the West Coast salmon fishery. "Salmon were
about 60% of my income," said Larry Collins, a San Francisco-based fisherman
Collins has also seen a dramatic decline in fish in San Francisco Bay.
"The herring fishery collapsed, and everything else is way down - likely due
to the over-pumping in the Delta."
The collapse of the salmon runs and the declining health of the Bay
fisheries impacts everyone from fish brokers to Bay Area restaurants
unable to serve local salmon to residents and tourists.
One 2009 study indicated that California's salmon fishing shutdown has cost
the region 23,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in annual income. The study found
that full recovery of California's salmon fisheries would create 94,000 new
jobs and provide $5.6 billion annual economic gain.
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/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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