Earlier this month, the Pacific Fishery Management Council met and created three public review options for the West Coast 2009 salmon season. Unfortunately for commercial salmon fisherman in California, all three options include no season for the second year in a row. California sport fisherman may be allowed to fish for 10 days in August and September under one option. The verdict is not out on an Oregon commercial salmon season yet. Options range from no season at all to allowing small catch quotas.
Last year’s closure was a result of poor returns on the Sacramento River. Although things are looking up for the river, the expected returns are only sufficient to maintain the species. According to the Curry Reporter:
While this year’s returns are better than last year’s, the season options are still limited. Without any fishing, 122,196 fish are expected to return to the Sacramento River this year. The minimum conservation goal is 122,000 — 180,000 spawning adult salmon.
The Klamath River is facing similar returns of only meeting the minimum natural spawning returns of 35,000. Still, California fisherman are suffering from the closure on the heals of a poor dungeness crab season. Dave Bitts, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, expresses his concerns:
It’s grim. The ocean conditions were supposed to have turned around and gotten a lot better, so I’m kind of baffled, frankly.
Last year’s ban cost coastal communities $250 million and over 2,200 people lost their jobs. We must fix our rivers to fix our economy.