Pacific Ocean regulators decide to close California salmon fishing season for 2023

The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Thursday finalized its recommendation to close commercial and recreational salmon fishing off the California coast until 2024.

The council’s plan will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for final approval, which is expected by the middle of May. 

This will mark only the second time that ocean salmon fishing off California is shut down. The previous season was 2008-09.

Commercial fishing of salmon will not be allowed south of Humbug Mountain in Oregon until next spring. Recreational salmon fishing is set to return in California coastal waters also in the spring of 2024.

“The forecasts for Chinook returning to California rivers this year are near record lows. The poor conditions in the freshwater environment that contributed to these low forecast returns are unfortunately not something that the council can, or has authority to, control,” said PFMC Chairman Marc Gorelnik in a statement.

Drought-imposed difficulties for the Klamath River and Sacramento River populations of Chinook salmon during their trek to the Pacific three years ago have led to low numbers returning to the ocean in 2023.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has requested a Federal Fishery Disaster Declaration, hoping subsidies will help the state’s fishermen.

The salmon industry provides 23,000 seasonal jobs and $1.4 billion in economic activity in California during normal fishing years, according to the Golden State Salmon Association.

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