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Feds cancel salmon fishing season in California

Salmon_fishing_season_canceled Not enough salmon and too much demand, so for the first time in 150 years, no salmon fishing season. The ban applies to the coasts of California and Oregon, Eric Bailey reports.

The ban adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council after a weeklong meeting in Seattle marks the new low point for a trade enshrined in the West since the Gold Rush.

An aborted season will wallop coastal communities in which salmon has long been a financial and cultural mainstay. Repercussions are expected to ripple out, with the ban hurting not just fuel docks and tackle stores but also supermarkets and truck dealerships.

In California, commercial salmon fishing is a $150-million business.

Scientists say global warming is to blame. Fishermen see "... a whole bunch of smoking guns," including bridge construction and fisheries practices. The salmon season usually runs from May to October, with a catch of about 800,000 fish.

You can read Eric's full story here.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Kurt Rogers / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (6)

Interesting story. I liked the part about the fishermen understanding this is a "grim reality." It is and yet, it's so sad. King Salmon are so amazing to see in the wild -- they are massive.

But there are many sustainably raised and caught fish. Perhaps this will be a call to grocery stores to carry and label sustainable fish so consumers can make good decisions for our plates and our planet.


WE, THE PEOPLE, legal residents of the United States and members of the commercial fishing community, to achieve a more sustainable fishery and fishing industry, request formal congressional oversight hearings on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) stewardship, which we find to be grossly deficient, causing severe economic harm, and in which we proclaim our vote of no confidence.

Fishery resource assessments, diligently conducted by marine scientists, are only part of the data equation needed to establish credible optimum yield estimates and develop true ecosystem based management. Marine fisheries, due to their primitive nature and extreme sensitivity to climatic changes, are at the vanguard of global warming economic impact.

NMFS has failed to promulgate any comprehensive methodology for assessing the impacts of such environmental variability on reproductive patterns, migration routes and ecosystem relationships. NMFS instead has placed the entire onus of resource depletion on commercial fishermen with constraints recklessly causing severe harm and suffering to the fishing community. Fishermen, who have obeyed NMFS regulations, now find themselves and their fishing communities on the brink of economic disaster.

Federal court recently has rebuked our government for its gross lack of comprehensively addressing the impacts of global warming, and as corroborated in a September 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office. U.S. fisheries already must operate in an unfair competitive arena of fisheries subsidized by other nations, from where imports now greatly surpass U.S. harvests. Our fisheries no longer can sustain more elitist federal disregard. That the U.S. demands the destructive discard of all inadvertent by-catch in the face of world hunger only manifests a nation’s arrogance. NMFS’s expedited resource recovery plans will turn the small fisherman, unable financially to sustain more constraints without due compensation, inhumanely into the ultimate by-catch.

Without comprehensive assessments on potential environmental change impacts on marine fisheries, optimum yields must not be lowered without providing equal compensation to affected fishing communities. The government legally cannot have it both ways, however in the absence of comprehensive impact data, compensation also cannot be ascertained. Historical data and resource assessments no longer are sufficient to meet baseline scientific requirements to substantiate NMFS’s recovery plans.

No industry could reasonably operate in a business manner under such a constant barrage of abrupt emergency actions and regulatory changes by NMFS for over a decade. Immediate congressional oversight of NMFS’s assessment methodology, not its simple consideration of environmental variability, is the next logical action to the findings of the federal court and the GAO. Taking no action only would condone the present suffering of our fishing communities and set dangerous federal precedent for placing other sectors of our nation’s agricultural communities in similar jeopardy of economic distress and increased foreign dependence. We trust our congressional representatives to have both the will and the wisdom to take rightful action and stop this bleeding.


Perhaps it is just time, in the development of our civilization, to stop taking any food at all from the wild. To only consume food that would never have existed if not for the intervention on mankind. And for salmon, that means farming it. And leave nature to be itself.

Responding to this earlier comment:

"But there are many sustainably raised and caught fish. Perhaps this will be a call to grocery stores to carry and label sustainable fish so consumers can make good decisions for our plates and our planet."

Ouch! First, it is already mandatory to label FARMED fish, which I think poster is dubbing "sustainably raised" If in error, please excuse. Farmed fish is not only tasteless, but constitutes a terrible danger to wild fish. The chemicals they are fed do NOT stay in the fish pen, but leak out into the open ocean and are already causing hormonal damage to wild fish.
My friends and I, when eating out, always ask if the fish is wild caught or farmed. If the latter, we order something else.

Second, if anybody doubts that global warming is altering weather patterns GLOBALLY, they should get their heads out of the sand, and get their legislators out of Congress, if they fall into the category of Sen. Inhofe, who labeled global warming the "biggest hoax" of all time.

We the people need to lead, since our "leaders" are really followers of the corporate state.

Aspasia: Thank you for your comment, however, I clearly wrote raised and caught, which would imply farmed and non-farmed fish, right? I live in Portland, Oregon and my local grocery store carries wild sustainable fish, for example, they sell Lummi island salmon, which is wild and sustainable. Portland is a very green city, and our economy is largely dependent on wild salmon. Our city and Portland consumers also takes steps to protect one of its resources.

I'm also an avid angler and I agree that farmed fish is scary. Most people don't know that farmed salmon is given dye in its food so the meat will be pink.

You raise an excellent point about farmed vs wild salmon. And if people are interested in more, Marion Nestle's book What to Eat has a great analysis of the safety and sustainability of farmed and wild fish.

All those millions of dollars on fishing permits are wasted , The fish and game dept should be labeled Fish and Lame .
The point is that all that money we fishermen pay in permits and licenses should go towards hatcheries. This is the answer , we should all gang up up the fish and Lame dept to build hatcheries and also recruit local fishermen to contribute salmon eggs from their catch to hatch in hatcheries.
I only takes three years for salmon to rebuild their numbers and hatcheries would ensure the numbers to return and even grow to numbers that would enable commercial fishermen to a lively hood where they can work every year.WTF is wrong with the Fish and Lame dept and what are they doing with our money we pay in permits and license fees.
I would say that they are misusing and mismanaging the Salmon industry.


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