Fishing Restrictions Looming?



A really informative piece in the Sacramento Bee the probability that fishing restrictions for king salmon will be imminent this year after dreadful numbers were recorded for last year’s fall run.

Here’s Sac Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow:

Fishing trade groups say they’re expecting potentially severe curtailments to the upcoming fishing seasons for both recreational and commercial anglers. The estimates will be used by regulators in the next few weeks to set catch limits for both seasons, which tend to run from spring to fall.

Officials blame the poor numbers on unfavorable ocean and river conditions following years of drought.

The disappointing population estimates follow a challenging year for California’s commercial fishermen. Last year’s salmon-fishing season was restricted in some areas to protect endangered winter-run Chinook whose numbers have plummeted in California’s record drought.

Professional anglers had hoped a robust Dungeness crab season would help offset the losses. But California officials announced in November they were suspending the crab season because of a toxic algae bloom off the coast. The commercial Dungeness season remains closed statewide.

“It’s a 1-2-3 punch,” said Tim Sloane, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “We had a pretty poor 2015 season. We’ve had zero income from crabbing, and now we’re looking at 2016 that’s projected to be – just by sheer numbers in the ocean – half what 2015 was.”