[env-trinity] Klamath River salmon season set to reopen in May; other regions face restrictions
tstokely at att.net
Fri Apr 13 12:07:46 PDT 2018
Klamath River salmon season set to reopen in May; other regions face restrictions
Ocean fishery set to open in May, in-river sport fishing in June
By Will Houston, Eureka Times-StandardThursday, April 12, 2018After facing closures for up to two years because of low salmon returns, Klamath River salmon fishermen and tribes are gearing up for a chance to make up for some of their losses in 2018. But the Klamath River season appears to be the only silver lining in California’s salmon season, according to fishery officials, with fishermen further south facing a potentially meager season asa result of low returns of Sacramento salmon. Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association President Harrison Ibach described this year’s season as odd in that the Klamath River salmon fishery has a longer summer season than fisheries down south when he said it’s normally the other way around.“As a whole, this season is very, very restrictive and going to be fairly devastating for a lot of salmon fishermen,” Ibach said. “But that we get a little season here is nice and it will help a little bit.”The Klamath River’s sport and ocean salmon seasons were closed last year because of an unprecedented low prediction of returning Chinook salmon.Last year, the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes were allocated just over 800 Chinook salmon, the lowest on record. The Yurok Tribe closed its commercial fishery for the second year in a row as a result and harvested only 216 fish for ceremonies and for tribal elders. The Hoopa Valley Tribe harvested 1,660 fish last year, which federal agencies and the Yurok Tribe have deemed as overharvesting though the Hoopa Valley Tribe challenged that claim.This year, the tribes are set to be allocated more than 18,000 fall-run Chinook salmon.The 2018 salmon harvest rules for the West Coast were approved this week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council after several days of meetings. The rules for salmon and other fisheries are expected to be approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service by May 1. Ibach said this is the first time in about five years he can remember being able to fish for Klamath salmon in May, which he said is a nice change of pace.The fishery council’s California troll salmon adviser Dave Bitts of Eureka said normally about 80 percent of the year’s salmon catch occurs in July, but the season will only be open for six days that month in the Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas because of the low predicted return of Sacramento River salmon.Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations Executive Director Noah Oppenheim — who represents fishing fleets from San Diego to Alaska — said this year’s salmon season rules make it “clear as day that the drought is not over for salmon fishermen, who continue to pay for terrible water policy decisions with their livelihoods year after year.”“With the Sacramento River salmon stock constraining us, it took a lot of hard work and collaboration just to patch together the meager season we’re facing for 2018,” he said. “But there will be California salmon on the menu and in the cold case this summer. We’ve finished the season setting process, and our members are looking forward to finally getting back out on the water. It’ll be tough, but we will persevere.”Bitts said the predicted return of Sacramento River salmon is very conservative this year and for good reason.“They were badly overpredicted for three years in a row,” Bitts said.By reigning in the harvest of Sacramento salmon this year, Bitts said the idea is to allow for more fish to be able to spawn and restore the stock. At the same time, Bitts said fishing vessels in San Francisco reported seeing an abundance of smaller salmon last year, which he said could indicate the return of Sacramento River salmon will be higher than predicted. “If that turns out to be true, then we may not have a whole lot of time, but the time should be productive compared to last year,” Bitts said.Ibach said with ocean fishing in the Klamath Management Zone — which runs from the California-Oregon border to Humboldt Bay’s south jetty – being open earlier this year, it may attract more fishermen from southern areas of the state.While Ibach said he wishes the salmon season could be open for longer, he said that is not always the case.“We’re appreciative to get as much time as we can get to go to work,” he said. Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the env-trinity