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Salmon season closure raises anxiety in California

April 10, 2023  By Julia Hollister

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) speaks at San Francisco Pier in support of federal funding for the salmon industry. (Photo: Julia Hollister)

Californians from all areas of the salmon industry came together on a chilly rain swept morning on April 7 to voice their concern over the closure of salmon season.

U.S Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was undeterred by the weather and spoke of her worry for those who depend on salmon for their livelihood.

”This closure has an impact,” she said.

“This (closure) is terrible news not just for today but for generations to come,” said Rep. Jared Huffman. “The closure puts a face on the people who make a living on salmon. We need federal disaster legislation now.”

According to the California Fish and Games, the 2023 projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon is the second lowest stock forecast on record. The first was in 2008. The season’s closure was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and likely will be approved in mid-May by the Marine Fisheries Service.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, Pelosi, state officials, hotels and recreational and commercial salmon fishing are calling for help. This disaster declaration would provide relief to those who will likely be faced with mounting financial damages from the closures.

Salmon Captain Sarah Bates an d Affiliation Crab Boat Owners Association said salmon is resilient should be brought back.

“Families and their livelihoods are impacted with the salmon season closing,” said Wade Crowfoot, with the California Natural Resources. “We need to improve conditions and we need to get disaster help.”

Other speakers include John McManus, Golden State Salmon Association, Larry (Duck) Collins, vice president, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations; Andy Guilino, Fish Emeryville; Kenny Belov, TwoXSea, fish restaurant owner; Ken Elie, Outdoor Pro Shop and Congressman Kevin Mullin.

Belov had a dire warning. “Layoffs are looming,” he said.

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