For the second season in a row, commercial salmon fishing will be nonexistent in California and Oregon, following a drastic drop in salmon spawn. On Wednesday, a federal agency recommended a ban on commercial catching of salmon off the coast of California and southern Oregon, prompting the Pacific Fishery Management Council to cancel the commercial salmon fishing season. The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to finalize the decision next month.
Last Fall, the number of Chinook salmon that made their way up the Sacramento rivers were at their lowest levels ever recorded. "There are just no fish," said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "If they allowed any fishing, they would be putting at risk future fishing."
The ban will be lifted for a few exceptions (a 10-day sporting season in select areas of California, and, in Oregon, hatchery-raised coho salmon from July to September), but the industry is concerned. Even without fishing this season, the salmon count will barely reach the council's minimum goal of 122,000 fish.
Researchers attribute the sharp decline of salmon to destruction of river habitat and increasingly troublesome ocean and river conditions. As we mentioned a while back, Atlantic salmon and all farmed salmon are some of the worst choices for the environment because typical salmon farming operations consume more fish than they produce. Although I was aware that certain types of salmon were more sustainable than others, I wasn't aware of the gravity of the situation. In light of the stark news, will you be more prudent when it comes to eating salmon?