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Salmon fishing canceled off Oregon and California Coasts


Cross-posted on Reuters

As reported in this article from March 12th, 2008, the chinook salmon run in the Sacramento River has collapsed.

This has led to drastic action by the Pacific Fishery Management Council which has canceled all 2008 commercial salmon fishing on the California and Oregon coasts.
Scientists and government officials are expecting this year's West Coast salmon season to be one of the worst in history, because of the collapse of Sacramento River chinook, one of the West Coast's biggest wild salmon runs.

Although commercial salmon fishing off the Washington coast is scheduled to begin May 1, fisheries managers do not predict a good season off either the north or south Pacific coasts.

"For the entire West Coast, this is the worst in history," Don McIsaac, executive director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, said before several close votes led to the fisheries plan for 2008.
The decision still must be validated by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, but no one expects it to be overturned. Even the fishermen who had resisted this action in 2006 are not resisting the decision, as they are on the front lines of the missing runs.

The states of Washington, California and Oregon are expected to declare the fishing waters and rivers a disaster area, paving the way for federal assistance.

Farmed raised and Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon will still be available, but chinook salmon is, for now, out of the food chain.
Scientists are studying the causes of the Sacramento River chinook collapse, with possible factors ranging from ocean conditions and habitat destruction to dam operations and agricultural pollution.
It will not be known until at least next season, maybe longer, whether the salmon will be able to reassert themselves.

In a related article, this report from the Washington Post explores Vice President Dick Cheney's possible involvement with the earlier Klamath Falls, Oregon salmon collapse.