Starting Friday March 17th, ocean Salmon fishing will be banned from Cape Falcon, Oregon to the U.S.-Mexico border. Both recreational and commercial salmon fishing is cancelled until at least mid-May.
This extraordinary step was taken to protect spawning Chinook in the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers which returned to California’s Central Valley last year at “near record low numbers”, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. Where Chinook once populated some of California’s largest rivers, recent years have seen increasingly dwindling numbers.
Effects of the yearslong prolonged drought are being seen in Salmon populations all along the west coast. Only 60,000 of an expected 196,000 Chinook returned to spawn in the Sacramento river last year. Prolonged drought conditions cause river levels to decrease as well as increasing water temperatures, a deadly combination for spawning salmon.
Beyond mid-May, the Pacific Fishery Management Council has put forth several recommendations all of which include banning all commercial and recreational Salmon fishing until April of 2024.
This isn’t the first fishery to be cancelled due to climate change: Alaskan fishery officials moved to ban the snow crab fishery last year. The first time ever in its history that the lucrative crab season was cancelled.
While the cancellation will undoubtedly have economic consequences for the local fishing industry, it is a necessary step towards protecting and preserving the Chinook Salmon and the environment it inhabits.
Source Story: CBS