California salmon start their comeback
The 2012 California salmon season opened last weekend, and the initial reports are good and could be getting even better. That's great news for lovers of local salmon, who have pretty much had to do without commercially caught fish since 2008. There was a limited catch last year, but this year the catch looks to be big enough that there shouldn't be any trouble finding fish.
This season's catch should total almost 3 million pounds, according to the California Salmon Council, an industry group. Last year, the haul was less than 1 million pounds. That seemed like a lot then, but only because the fishery had been completely closed in 2008 and 2009, and the 2010 catch was only about 250,000 pounds. For reference, the high-water mark for California salmon since 2000 was in 2004, when more than 7 million pounds were caught.
Those bad years had been the result of several factors, including water diversions from the rivers that produce the salmon, and ocean conditions that reduced the amount of krill -- similar to baby shrimp -- the salmon feed on.
Several local stores should be stocking California salmon, including Santa Monica Seafood, Gelson's, Bristol Farms and Fresh and Easy, according to a council spokesperson.
Photo: Salmon being unloaded in Bodega Bay. Credit: Chad Surmick/Associated Press