Local fishermen, scientists and agency
representatives bent the ears of top-level state
resource officials Thursday, urging more
cooperation on a variety of issues from the
Klamath River to ocean fisheries.
The Ocean Protection Council met at the
Wharfinger Building, following a Wednesday tour
of the lower Klamath and a salmon barbecue put
on by the Yurok Tribe.
California Department of Fish and Game senior
advisor Greg Hurner told the council that a
group of tribes, fishermen, agencies and other
stakeholders hopes to wrap up settlement talks
surrounding four dams on the Klamath by year's
end. A settlement, if it's successful, would
form agreements on water supplies for farms,
flows and water quality for salmon, and water
for Upper Klamath Lake and wildlife refuges in
the upper watershed as well, Hurner said.
The talks are confidential, giving the groups
room to express concerns and work out sensitive
issues, he said.
”It's to share ideas without repercussions,”
Hurner said. “It's allowed people to get out of
their comfort zone.
The talks began as the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission began considering dam
owner Pacificorp's request to relicense the dams
for another 30 to 50 years.
State resources secretary and council
chairman Mike Chrisman began the meeting by
saying that the effort to establish “marine
protected areas” along the 1,100-mile coast has
But two commercial fishermen urged the
council to slow down and determine what effects
the reserves are having before setting
restrictions along the North Coast. Faced with
significant reductions in quotas for fish like
ling cod and other rockfish through other
regulations, Crescent City fisherman Kenyon
Hensel said he worried about the ramifications
of marine protected areas here.
”We're concerned that it could be the end of
our livelihoods,” Hensel said.
The state is currently working on protected
areas -- zones with varying restrictions on
different uses -- along the north central coast
out to 3 miles. It's unknown whether it will
shift its attention to the North Coast next, or
move to another region to the south.
Trinidad commercial fisherman Mike Zamboni
said that overfishing is a thing of the past,
and that the economic reverberations of further
restrictions would be severe.
”The state waters should be protected for
fishermen,” he said, “not from fishermen.”
David Hull with the Humboldt Bay Harbor,
Recreation and Conservation District spent some
time briefing the council on the attributes of
the bay, orienting them on its importance for
fish, wildlife and commerce on the West Coast.
Researchers from the California Sea Grant talked
about their efforts and offered their
Humboldt State University President Rollin
Richmond also offered up the university's
resources to the council.
John Driscoll can be reached at 441-0504 or