Chinook Salmon Season Canceled


The recreational and commercial salmon fishing season has been canceled along the coasts of Oregon and California, through the middle of May, due to dwindling numbers of Chinook salmon in the states’ largest rivers following years of drought.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced the in-season action to protect the Klamath River fall-run Chinook salmon and Sacramento River fall-run Chinook, which returned to California’s Central Valley last year at “near-record low numbers.”

Ocean salmon fishing will be banned, starting Friday, between Cape Falcon, Ore., and the U.S.-Mexico border until May 15. Sport fishing had been scheduled to open off the coast of California on April 1.

Beyond mid-May, the Pacific Fishery Management Council in Seattle issued three regulatory options through May 15, 2024. While each option considers quotas for Oregon and Washington, none would allow commercial or sport salmon fishing off California until April of 2024.

“California ocean recreational fisheries in all areas from the Oregon-California border to the U.S.-Mexico border are proposed to be closed in all three alternatives given the low abundance forecasts for both Klamath and Sacramento fall Chinook,” the council announced Friday.

PFMC manages fisheries for approximately 119 species of salmon, groundfish and coastal pelagic species — including sardines, anchovies and mackerel — on the West Coast of the United States. The council also manages migratory species, such as tuna, shark and swordfish.

“The 2023 salmon season discussions have been dominated by the severely low forecasts for both the Klamath and Sacramento River fall Chinook stocks,” said Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Merrick Burden.

“The council will need to deliberate on the best path forward in setting 2023 seasons with considerations for economic implications to the coastal communities and the low abandons of key salmon stocks and the need to ensure future generations of healthy salmon returns,” Burden added.

PFMC plans to hold a public hearing next week in Santa Rosa, Calif., on the three proposals. Final regulations will be adopted when the council meets next month.

“Meeting our conservation and management objectives continues to be the highest priority for the council,” said Council Chair Marc Gorelnik.

“Balancing those objectives while providing meaningful commercial and recreational seasons remains a challenge in 2023.”


Comments (0)

Leave a Reply