Agencies Grapple with Poor 2016 Salmon Forecasts 3/4/2016
At the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of spawning salmon, and the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season. Forecasts suggest there are 299,600 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in the ocean this year, along with 142,200 adults from the Klamath River fall Chinook run. Both forecasts are lower compared to the previous few years. Salmon from these runs comprise the majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.
“The forecasts are lower than in recent years and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2016 that have reduced opportunities over last year,” said Brett Kormos, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
These forecasts, in addition to information on endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas and size and bag limits.
Chinook salmon that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2016 hatched two to four years ago, and may have been impacted by poor river conditions driven by California’s ongoing drought. Once in the ocean, the fish experienced El Niño conditions, which are not favorable for salmon or its prey.
Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website or call the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.