The decision affects fishing in coastal waters – three miles from shore. It conforms to one made last week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. That banned fishing in federal waters out two-hundred miles. Fish and Game Commissioner Jim Kellogg said the state agency’s decision could not come at a worse time—given the rough economy… But he said the need is clear.
“Most of the fishermen that I have talked to agree that we need to take drastic measures in spite of what it’s going to do to them."
The state and federal restrictions close fishing for both commercial and recreational anglers. The goal is to protect the Sacramento River Fall Chinook, which has been returning to river waters in drastically declining numbers. Some experts say it’s because ocean conditions are reducing the food supply food supply.
Wildlife experts describe the Chinook as the “backbone” of the salmon fisheries. State officials estimate the fishing ban will mean an economic hit of more than 250-million dollars and the loss of more than two-thousand jobs.
And the hits may keep coming. Next month Commissioners will determine whether to impose similar restrictions on rivers. Bob Boucke runs Johnson’s Bait and Tackle in Yuba City. He is dreading what will happen to his community near the Feather River if that decision is made
“All our guides and hotels and restaurants and tourism is going to be devastated in our town.”
State officials say there are other runs of Salmon that aren’t in trouble and are looking at that as a way to make up in part for the loss of this fishing season.