Here is a case of bad news and more bad news for salmon fishermen.
Federal fish managers, based on a recommendation of the National Marine Fisheries Service, are considering closing down ocean salmon fishing from Point Falcon in Oregon to Point Sur in California.
The closure- which is scheduled to have a final vote in April-would basically decimate coastal salmon fishing operations, and despite federal disaster aid, essentially would put a fair number of salmon fishermen out of business.
The “canary in the mine” here, is the Klamath River and it’s resident salmon which have found it hard to spawn in yet another screwed up river system.
I’m not a scientist-but there appears to be a direct corelation to the massive die-off of Klamath Salmon back in 2002. (For those who do not remember, back in the water tight year of 2002, precious Klamath Basin water was diverted to southern Oregon and northern California ranches and farms to protect their interests.) I also do not claim to be a water management expert-although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once- but it appears that inland water managers might want to shake hands with marine fishery managers, especially when inland rivers drain directly into oceans. The fact that a river born, sea raised salmon, sometimes has to travel hundreds of miles to spawn their young, tells me there is some cause and effect as to what takes place “upstream”.
So why would an alfalfa grower, rancher or any water user for that matter, think that their blatant disregard for those that are “downstream”, won’t have an effect at some point?
I’ll let you come up with the answer.
All I know, is that if nothing is done, we will have another ruined river.
The double dose of bad news here is, if the closure takes place, guess what?
Fishermen will head north.
Washington and Alaska will get some folks who will be suddenly interested in relocation.
And of course with more boats and fishermen and pressure on the salmon(despite quotas) the next place you will be hearing about closures and angry fishermen-will be Washington and Alaska.
The good news, if there is any, is that salmon fishing in any river in the affected area, such as the Rogue & Chetco should be phenomenal this year. Without any competition from commercial ocean fishermen and ocean sport fishermen, river salmon fishermen will have the fish all too themselves.
So stay tuned to April 2nd and the decisions that will be made.
The future of both Klamath River Salmon and California commercial fishermen, may hang in the balance.