The Pacific Fishery Management Council has canceled the 2023 Chinook salmon fishing season throughout much of the West Coast until May 15.
The council’s decision follows a near-record decline in abundance forecast levels for Chinook salmon, often known as king salmon, in California’s rivers last year.
Today, fewer than 167,767 adult fall chinook salmon are expected to try to return to the Sacramento River – the lowest since 2008. In the northern part of the state, just over 103,000 salmon are expected to return to the Klamath River. That’s the second-lowest forecast since assessment methods began in 1997.USA Today
The shutdown would affect all commercial and recreational Chinook salmon fishing from Cape Falcon in northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border. The move is believed to aid the recovery of the Chinook salmon population.
While many people will voice their opinions that the rivers are drying up due to all the dams preventing water to flow naturally, I think we can all agree that damage control is the right thing to do now.
Canceling the 2023 salmon fishing season is a huge blow to the West Coast’s fishing economy that relies on Chinook salmon.
The Chinook salmon fishery is worth millions of dollars to the region’s economy, and the closure will significantly impact fishermen, seafood processors, and allied industries.
Aside from the declining forecast, the drought in recent years has also increased the number of wildfires around here.
In fact, in 2020, there was a fire so close to our house that we were waiting to hear if we had to evacuate.
Even though ending the king salmon fishing season in 2023 is hard for the fishing industry, I feel it’s necessary to protect the Chinook salmon population and ensure the fishery will be around for a long time.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council will continue to monitor the Chinook salmon stock and make future fishing season choices based on population health.
Aside from the impact on the fishing sector, the fall in the Chinook salmon population has substantial ecological ramifications.
Chinook salmon are a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest.
They play an important role in the food web and provide nutrients to other species.
The decline of the Chinook salmon population can have a domino effect on the entire ecosystem, affecting everything from other fish to birds to bears that rely on salmon as a food source.
Conservation groups and government agencies have been working to restore salmon habitat and improve water quality in California’s rivers to stop the decline in Chinook salmon.
These efforts include restoring wetlands, eliminating dams, and minimizing pollution.
Unfortunately, the long-lasting drought and other environmental problems make it impossible to fully restore salmon habitat and keep the Chinook salmon population healthy in the long term.