All species of California salmon are at risk, with Coho facing possible extinction. When the population of spawning Sacramento River Chinook suddenly collapsed, the Pacific Fishery Management Council took the unprecedented step of completely closing the California salmon fishing season in 2008 and 2009. The economic impact of the closure was immense (Schwarzenegger requested $290M in disaster relief), yet the closure had the support of many commercial fisherman. The future of California’s salmon seemed to hang in the balance.
There are seemingly endless variables that can impact the health and size of our salmon fisheries: ocean and climactic conditions, predators, watershed health, dams, fishing, water diversion, urbanization, etc.
Understanding why the Sacramento River Chinook collapsed is the business of Dr. Steven Lindley. At our September café, he will discuss the state of California’s salmon fisheries, including the factors leading to our current critical state. He will also discuss approaches to fishery management and conservation as we try to ensure the future viability of our salmon populations.