Originally posted by: 8010_Jun on 3/11/2006 9:09:49 AM
Here's an article from Dan Bacher, Managing Editor - Fishsniffer.com
No Salmon Season In 2006?
by Dan Bacher
There may be no salmon fishing season this year on the coast from Cape Falcon, Oregon to the Mexican border after May 1, based on the latest data provided by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) at the salmon informational meeting in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, February 21.
Even if all commercial, tribal and recreational seasons are closed, the spawning escapement goal of 35,000 natural spawners on the Klamath River will probably not be met. Even if all fishing in the ocean and Klamath River is closed, only 29,200 natural fish are expected to spawn in the river, according to Allen Grover of the DFG. This figure is based on an expected age-4 ocean harvest rate of 7 percent, due to ocean commercial and recreational harvest that already occurred in September-November 2005.
If the 2005 regulations are kept in place, only 18,700 fish - just a little over half of the minimum escapement goal - are expected in the river, based on an age-4 ocean salmon rate of 12.2 percent.
"These expected numbers were derived from contact rate per unit effort and the effort per day day predictors base on long term time series of these quantities," said Grover. "Were these predictors to be more heavily weighted towards recent year data, the forecast number of spawners and harvest rate would be even less optimistic."
For anybody to fish after May 1, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) would be required to get an emergency rule approved by NOAA Fisheries, according to Rod McIinnis of NOAA Fisheries. To protect the Klamath stocks, the ocean anglers will be completely prohibited or, in the best case scenario, allowed severely limited seasons along the coast.
Ironically, the Sacramento River stocks of chinook salmon continue to be relatively robust. The forecasted ocean abundance of Central Valley stocks in 2006 is 632,482 fish, based on a return of age-2 fish (jacks and jills) in the fall of 2005. However, recreational anglers and commercial fishermen will be prohibited from pursuing these fish because the Sacramento River and Klamath River fish mix together in the ocean fishery.
The PFMC will adopt 2006 ocean salmon fishery regulations in April 2006 at their meeting in Sacramento. If the postseason estimate of adult spawners in 2006 is less than 35,000, it would be the third consecutive year of failing to meet the PFMC conservation objective for the stock. Under the terms of the Salmon FMP, this would trigger an overfishing concern and require the PFMC to undertaken an overfishing review, which would likely lead to the development of a rebuilding plan for the stock.
DFG staffers spent over two hours receiving comments from recreational and commercial anglers. Most comments focused on alternatives for limited salmon fisheries in certain areas at certain times to avoid catching Klamath stock.
Roger Thomas, a member of the PFMC and captain of the Salty Lady sportfishing boat, suggested researching a depth restrictive recreational season from Point Reyes to Pt. San Pedro from June through August.
Other suggestions included opening opening a recreational fishery in the Monterey Bay Area in April, May and June; Allen Grover then noted that one of the highest Klamath chinook rates on record in the Monterey area was in May 2005. In light of this, Captain Ken Stagnaro from Santa Cruz proposed a secondary option, a recreational season in the Monterey area from July 1 through mid-September.
One angry commercial fisherman from Fort Bragg, Bill Forkner, stood up and summed up the feelings of most meeting participants when he said, "This is all B.S.! You guys (state and federal governments) aren't addressing the problems of the Klamath River!"
Another commercial angler, Barbara, pointed out the irony of a federal government that goes out of its way to supply water to subsidized farmers in the Klamath Basin while it has no problem cutting back salmon seasons. "There are two National Marine Fishery Services, one that puts us out of business and the other that bends over to the farmers," she said.
Salmon fishermen are being kicked off the water this season because of the legacy of the Klamath fish kills of 2002 - and decades of mismanagement by the state and federal governments, including failure to provide fish passage over Klamath River dams. The fish going up the river this fall are the progeny of the spring 2002 juvenile salmon kill and the September 2002 adult salmon kill.
This was a disaster that was engineered in Washington by Karl Rove and the Bush administration. Rove pressured Gale Norton to divert the Klamath water to agribusiness at the expense of fish, tribes, recreational anglers and commercial fishermen to curry favor with local farmers so an Oregon Republican Senator would be reelected. Now recreational anglers, the Klamath Basin Tribes, commercial fishermen and the entire economy of northern California will suffer because of the greed of a few.
When we combine the Delta crash, the Klamath salmon nightmare and the precipitous decline of white sturgeon in the Bay-Delta estuary, it couldn't be much worse for anybody who cares about fish and the environment. These disasters make it urgent that we expose their creators - the federal government and state governments - for what they have done to our fisheries. They must all be held accountable for the big money, mismanagement and corruption that created the current nightmare scenario.
The PFMC will adopt a set of options for the 2006 ocean salmon fisheries for public review in Seattle on March 5-10. Then on April 3-7, the council will meet to adopt the 2006 management measures at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento.
You are urged to submit your input at these meetings or in a special public hearing on the proposed salmon fishery management options will be held on March 28 at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, 2777 Fourth Street, from 7 pm to 10 pm. For more information, call (707) 545-8530.
For more information about the upcoming PFMC meetings, go to their website at: www.pccouncil.org