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Low California salmon runs prompt coastal fishing closures

March 14, 2008 Fish and Wildlife Columbia Basin Bulletin

With northern California chinook salmon runs forecast to be at historic lows, the sport salmon season south of Cape Falcon scheduled for March 15 through April 30 has been closed.

"Chinook salmon forecasts for runs that contribute to ocean salmon fisheries off Oregon are estimated to be at very low levels," said Eric Schindler, ocean salmon supervising biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Critically low numbers of fall chinook within the Sacramento River and a very low forecast for Klamath River three-year-old chinook head the list of problems facing salmon managers this year."

The commercial ocean troll salmon fishery for all species except coho between Cape Falcon, Oregon and the Oregon/California Border that was scheduled to open for the period of March 15 through April 30 was also closed.

Both actions were by the National Marine Fisheries Service in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the state of Oregon, and fishery interests.

"This closure will allow fishery managers to better develop a range of fishing options for the 2008 ocean salmon seasons," Schindler said. "The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Pacific Fishery Management Council are still considering options for fishing opportunity within this area that could start as early as April 15."

A decision on any April seasons will be made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting April 6-12.

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