The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) is recommending to
the U.S. Secretary of Commerce that the commercial and
recreational salmon fisheries in California be closed for the 2008
A state of emergency declaration was issued immediately by Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger who says many commercial fishing operations
will be driven out of business by the ban.
He says he will also sign a bill by Sen. Pat Wiggins, D-Santa
Rosa, which appropriates approximately $5.3 million of the $45
million in Proposition 84 funds to begin coastal salmon and
steelhead fishery restoration projects.
“Today’s decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council
underscores our responsibility to quickly free up state and
federal resources to help the fishing industry cope with the
devastating economic impacts closing the season will have,” Mr.
The federal Management Council says this fall’s spawning run of
Chinook salmon from the Pacific Ocean to breeding grounds in the
fresh water of the Sacramento River in the Central Valley is
expected to be just 58,200 fish.
As recently as 2002, an estimated 775,000 adult salmon made the
Why there has been a sudden collapse of the Sacramento fall
Chinook stock is not readily apparent, the council says.
“The National Marine Fisheries Service has suggested ocean
temperature changes, and a resulting lack of upwelling, as a
possible cause of the sudden decline. Many biologists believe a
combination of human?caused and natural factors are to blame
including freshwater in?stream water withdrawals, habitat
alterations, dam operations, construction, pollution, and changes
in hatchery operations,” the council says.
The Wiggins legislation will pay for coastal salmon and steelhead
fishery restoration projects to address long-term environmental
challenges resulting from poor ocean conditions and other factors.
The council’s recommendations will now go to the California Fish
and Game Commission for a final decision via a process beginning
The California Department of Fish and Game estimates the potential
damage from the closure of the salmon season to be $255 million
and 2,263 California jobs.