CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Ocean Salmon Fisheries

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Want to find out about the prospects for the ocean salmon season? Then attend the upcoming Ocean
Salmon Information meeting in Santa Rosa on March 2.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual Ocean Salmon Information Meeting. A review of last year’s ocean salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, in addition to the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries,” according to a press release from the CDFW.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa (95403).

“Anglers are encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April,” the CDFW stated.

“Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative process involving the PFMC, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Public input will help California representatives negotiate a broad range of season alternatives during the PFMC March 9-14 meeting in Sacramento,” according to the Department.

The 2016 Ocean Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage,

The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available. For more information, go to:

The meeting comes at a critical time for salmon ,crab and other fisheries. Legislators, members of commercial fishing families, fishing group representatives and Brown administration officials testified about the dire situation that the salmon and crab fishery is in during the 43rd Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture held at the State Capitol in Sacramento on February 11.

“This forum works, but the fishermen are not,” said Senator Mike McGuire, Chair of the Committee, in his opening comments. “The salmon and crab fisheries are threatened by a historic crisis. We’re facing a fishery disaster that will impact many families.”

Citing CDFW figures, McGuire said the commercial salmon fishery income has declined from $52 million in 2013, to $31 million in 2014, to $15.5 million in 2015 (according to preliminary estimates). Due to lower than expected returns on both the Sacramento and Klamath systems, things are expected to be even worse this year.

In addition to the failure of over 95 percent of the winter run in 2014 and 97 percent of the winter run in 2015 to make it past Red Bluff on the Sacramento River because of lethally high water temperatures, 98 percent of the naturally-spawning fall run Chinook juveniles and eggs were lost over the past year,

Commercial and sportfishing groups and Tribal leaders have strongly criticized the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources for emptying Trinity, Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs during the drought in order to export Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County. The draining of the reservoirs resulted in lethally warm water conditions for winter-run and fall-run Chinook salmon on the Sacramento River over the past two years.

Salmon and steelhead are not only are threatened by the mismanagement of Central Valley reservoirs by the state and federal water agencies during a drought and changing ocean conditions, but by Governor Jerry Brown’s California Water Fix project to build the Delta Tunnels and a federal plan to raise Shasta Dam. Both plans are opposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other Tribes, environmental organizations and fishing groups.