Every year, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) gathers to set salmon fishing seasons along the West Coast.
Both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen in Southern Oregon/Northern California probably aren’t too happy.
The salmon fishing season is closed for both recreational and commercial salmon fishing from Humbug Mountain in Oregon to Horse Mountain in California.
“It has been another challenging year for the Council, its advisors, fishery stakeholders and the public as we strive to balance fishing opportunities on harvestable stocks of Chinook and coho with the severe conservation needs we are facing on salmon stocks, both north and south of Cape Falcon,” says Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy.
The last time the season was closed was in 2008.
“The Council has recommended commercial and recreational ocean salmon seasons in Washington, Oregon, and California this year that provide important protections for stocks of concern including Klamath River fall Chinook, Washington coastal coho and Puget Sound Chinook,” says Tracy.
The PFMC made the decision because this year marks the lowest forecast for returning 4-year-old chinook to the Klamath River since estimates began in 1985. Those fish headed to the ocean during inland drought conditions and poor feeding conditions in the ocean.
In 2008, the season was closed because adult fish heading to the Sacramento River dropped significantly.
Anglers and commercial fishermen could face another closure in 2018. That’s because the 2017 return of 3-year-old Klamath chinook is the second-lowest on record.
The salmon fishing seasons are managed to protect fish returning to the Klamath and Sacramento rivers to spawn.
“We have made the tough decisions and implemented fishery restrictions to protect salmon stocks while providing at least some opportunity for commercial recreational, and tribal ocean salmon fishing along much of the west coast,” says Council Chair Herb Pollard.