Federal Reserve Closes California Chinook Salmon Season
Chinook salmon along California and southern Oregon coasts continue to suffer The lingering effects of extensive drought in the regionand this spring, fishermen welcomed Chinook season.
Chinook salmon fishing off the coast of California will also remain closed next year as the Pacific Fishery Management Council seeks to help fish rebuild after years of record drought. is likely to become
Given the conditions on the Klamath and Sacramento rivers last year, the cancellation of the season in April and early May came as a surprise to sport fisherman Jim Yarnall, who is a member of the council’s Salmon Advisory Sub-Panel of Fisheries and Tribal Representatives. It wasn’t supposed to.
A season north along the California coast to Cape Falcon, Oregon Until May 15th It was canceled to protect fall Chinook on the Sacramento River, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
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Salmon in California’s Sacramento River were at record lows last year, and fall Chinook numbers on the Klamath River were the second lowest since the current assessment methodology began in 1997.
Draft Management Plan for the California Coast It does not include alternatives where fishermen can keep Chinook salmon, but limited seasons are possible in southern Oregon. After the hearing, the board will meet in early April to finalize the schedule.
Drought Affects Salmon
Salmon, including the chinook, the main California species, rely on abundant waters to hatch, migrate from spawning grounds to the sea, and migrate again to drop eggs that lay the next generation of fish.
Water in much of California and the West has not been abundant for many years.
Low river flows and high river temperatures affect salmon survival, especially as they emerge as eggs and need to travel downstream to the sea, said Stewardship Council’s Salmon Officer. says Robin Ehrke. “There are less and less fish.”
- Some fish are likely to die when they return to spawning grounds
- The banner seasons of the last few years may also have played a role, albeit to a limited extent.
Scientists use models to estimate fish numbers and predict fishing pressure from commercial and recreational fishermen based on catch data and field studies of salmon returns.
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According to Ehlke, current projections for Chinook on the Sacramento River are low and do not significantly exceed the targets needed to ensure viability. “Currently, some of these salmon stocks are projected to be at low levels, and it is very dangerous for fisheries to fail to meet their conservation goals.”
Over the past few years, the effects of climate change and drought have degraded the performance of models used to estimate fish populations, Yarnall said. “The people running these models are growing their hair out.
Managing salmon, local water supplies and fishing seasons is a complex puzzle, Yarnall said. One reason, he said, is that it’s much more difficult to “dismantle the watershed” than it would be if the river system in the Sacramento and San Juaquin area were all dams and reservoirs today.
Federal and state water managers coordinate all moving parts in an attempt to manage water flow for flood control, agricultural irrigation, public water supplies, and wildlife. Sometimes, Yarnall said, “fish get the short end of the stick.”
How are salmon fishing seasons set?
The season was set a year ago and is subject to revision.
- NOAA Fisheries will provide guidance to the Management Council and its Advisory Committee on the numbers they expect.
- State fisheries managers publish population numbers.
- The council knows that a certain amount of salmon must be returned from the sea and rivers returned to spawning grounds to maintain healthy salmon stocks, Ehlke said.
- The Council and its Advisory Board create proposed seasons that meet minimum goals
- A hearing and comment period will take place
- The final proposal was forwarded to NOAA Fisheries for review and approval.
Last year, one of the options the advisory board made for the 2022-2023 annual management plan was to have no spring season, she said. Based on that advice, the Council concluded that not fishing was the most reasonable and least risky option.
“Obviously, everyone wants to fish, but most fishermen understand where the salmon are and they need to make sure the stock is healthy. “A year-long hiatus seems appropriate. I hope the salmon has time to regain its strength.”
hope for the future
Yarnall is optimistic about California’s Chinook.
“If there’s a silver lining to all of this, California has been raining here since December,” he said. “Snow cover is high. Reservoirs fill up and salmon is an amazingly resilient species.”
“If we get out of the way and give it half a chance, in three years we can see it bounce back to abundant fish stocks,” he said.
Dinah Voyles Pulver covers climate and environmental issues for USA TODAY. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @dinahvp on her Twitter.