Isabella Vanderheiden, THE TIMES STANDARD
Dwindling Chinook salmon runs have forced the Pacific Fishery Management Council to shorten the commercial salmon fishing season. The Sacramento Valley fall-run Chinook salmon runs are projected to be half as abundant as the 2020 season while the Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast is slightly higher than the 2020 but is still significantly lower than the long-term average.
During a press briefing on Friday morning, John McManus President of the Golden State Salmon Association said the added restrictions will deal a blow to commercial fishermen.
“You may wonder why we’re in this predicament this year, there are some near term and some longer-term reasons why but at the end of the day, we’re seeing a decline in our salmon runs here in the state of California,” McManus said. “In large measure, because of what’s happening in their freshwater habitat where they’re just not getting enough to give us healthy populations year in and year out.”
A normal salmon fishing season brings in about $1.4 billion statewide and employs approximately 23,000 people, McManus said.
“The salmon out of the Central Valley are caught in the ocean, not only off California but all the way up along the Oregon coast. This is a major economic shot in the arm for coastal communities and for inland communities as well,” he said.
According to the CDFW website, commercial salmon fishing typically opens on May 1 but this year the season is “closed in 2021” from the Oregon border down to Humboldt Bay’s south jetty.