Salmon season officially off

A very large salmon caught during a research cruise
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

California’s commercial and recreational salmon season was officially canceled late Thursday — and Gov. Newsom quickly announced he’s seeking a federal fishery disaster declaration to ease the pain for fishing communities.

As CalMatters’ Alastair Bland reported last month, California’s commercial and recreational fishing fleet landed about 300,000 salmon last year. But crashing populations are forcing this drastic move by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, something that hasn’t been done since 2009.

  • Charlton Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a statement: “This decision, while difficult, is intended to allow salmon to recover in order to provide future fishing opportunities…. The state is committed to ensuring long-term survival of our salmon runs and supporting our struggling fishing communities.”

The closure is expected to take effect in mid-May. And on May 17, the California Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to consider closing inland salmon fisheries as well.

The cancellation of salmon season, however, will put hundreds out of work from the Central Coast to the Oregon border. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, the acting governor while Newsom is out of state, submitted the disaster request

  • Newsom, in a statement: “Countless families, coastal communities and tribal nations depend on salmon fishing — it’s more than an industry, it’s a way of life. That’s why we’re requesting expedited relief from the federal government.”