Ben Doane “Sumoco” attended the February 27 CDFW salmon meeting in Santa Rosa on behalf of HASA, as Bob Smith “RBob” was unable to attend this year. The meeting reviewed the 2018 Chinook salmon seasons, provided information on the 2018 returns to the Klamath and Sacramento rivers, and previewed the potential ocean salmon abundance for 2019.
The good news:
Both the Sacramento and the Klamath rivers had sufficient 2018 jack and adult returns to provide for some ocean salmon fishing in the 2019 season. It remains to be seen just what the 2019 season MAY be structured like. Season development will take place at the Pacific Management Fisheries Council (PFMC) meeting on March 6-12, 2019, in Vancouver WA.
The petition to list the Klamath River Spring-run Chinook, while having a possibly drastic effect on the 2019 in-river salmon fishery, should not detract from the 2019 ocean salmon season.
The bad news:
Five rivers, including the Klamath River and the Sacramento River, have been determined to be “over-fished”. Over-fished does not mean we caught too many fish, it is a term used to indicate that the returns to the rivers have been below the minimum of: 40,700 natural area spawners for the Klamath and 122,000-180,000 natural and hatchery spawners for the Sacramento.
Both the Klamath and the Sacramento rebuilding plans have three options: 1) Status quo; 2) a reduction in the allowable take and a raise in the minimum returns, and 3) a total closure of ocean salmon fishing. For Option 3, the Klamath River closure would be from Cape Falcon OR to Point Arena CA. The Sacramento River closure would be from Cape Falcon OR to the U.S./Mexican border. Details of the draft rebuilding plans, both lengthy documents, are in the current PFMC Briefing Book at: www.pcouncil.org/resources/archives/briefing-books/march-2019-briefing-book/salmon. To use the link, copy and paste it in your browser.
The development of the rebuilding plans will occur at the March 6-12 PFMC meeting in Vancouver WA.
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has filed a notice of intent to sue to close all west coast chinook fishing. Their goal is apparently to provide more feed for the Orcas in the Pacific Northwest. As this is pending litigation, no details were shared. Most court cases of this nature take an extended period of time to resolve.