California Salmon Season Opens May 1
Fishermen Are Back Delivering Prized Kings
April 28, 2011 06:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--May 1 marks the opening day of the California
commercial salmon fishing season, which continues through October 14.
“It’s good to finally be back on the water, fishing for king salmon,” says David Yarger, Chairman of the California
Salmon Council. “Until 2006, California was normally the leading producer of troll-caught (hook-and-line) wild king
salmon along the Pacific Coast,” says David Goldenberg, Chief Executive Officer of the California Salmon Council.
Commercial salmon fishing was disrupted beginning in 2006 when the fishery collapsed due to water diversions in
2002 on the Klamath River which resulted in the loss of Klamath spawning fish. A second and more devastating loss
occurred in 2007 and 2008 when the abundant Sacramento River or Central Valley stocks were lost to changes in
the ocean conditions when juvenile fish were migrating from fresh water. At that time krill or tiny shrimp were not
available in sufficient quantities to nourish the smolt or “baby” salmon. The end result was the loss of two successive
years of salmon smolts. “The compounded loss from the 2006 Klamath disaster and the loss of two brood years on
Central Valley stocks resulted in a complete closure of the fishery in 2008 and 2009 and an extremely limited season
in 2010,” said Goldenberg.
Yarger says, “As an industry, salmon fishermen were economically harmed by five years of closures or limited fishing
opportunities. The coastal economies and infrastructure which rely on fishing were also hard hit.” He continues, “We
want Californians to know that commercial fishermen are passionate environmentalists.” Fishermen abide by
regulations designed to ensure there will be sustainable supplies of these fish now, and in the future. As part of their
commercial license, fishermen contribute into a fund, which is used to enhance restoration of rivers and streambeds
to improve natural spawning opportunities for these prized fish. According to “FishWatch U.S. Sea Food Facts” at
the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA)
(http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/chinook_salmon.htm), the California Salmon fishery is rated as
sustainable and not overfished.
Yarger wants consumers to know that not all salmon are alike. “Salmon species vary on where they’re caught, and
whether they’re from the ocean or farm-raised,” he says. “California salmon, or Chinooks, are called ‘kings’
because they are regarded as the most prized, as well as the largest of the five species of Pacific salmon.”
Yarger adds, “Consumers should ask for California King Salmon, which is fresher, because they are caught locally
off California’s coastline. King salmon have a higher oil content that adds to their natural robust flavor and deep
coloring, a favorite among professional chefs.” Retail prices may average a little higher this year over farmed salmon,
due to the high fuel costs and an increased demand for these seasonal fish.
Fishermen caught 228,000 pounds of wild California King Salmon®, last year in an eight day limited season in July.
In 2007 1.5 million pounds were landed and 6.2 million pounds were caught in 2004, which was the last full season
before the population started to decline. This year’s season is looking brighter, with a May 1 opener from San
Francisco south to the Mexican border. The season is set to open in areas up and down the coast to avoid impacting
Klamath stocks, which traditionally have been limited. “The good news,” continues Yarger, “is that salmon runs from
the American and Sacramento River System are slowly rebuilding.”
The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC), a regulatory body that manages the Pacific fishing season,
found that less restrictions were needed this year because Central Valley and Klamath River stocks rebounded last
year. As a consequence the fishing season allows for increased harvests of the prized California kings. Klamath
stocks are avoided to provide for a level of protection in accordance with PFMC regulations. Because fish from all
river systems commingle in the ocean, it is not possible to selectively harvest one fish from another, therefore the
regulations are set to move the fleet to times and areas which meet management objectives.
Nutrition studies have found that eating fish, such as salmon, once a week reduces the risk of cardiac arrest, as well
as to increase cognitive function and to reduce depression. Ocean-caught California King salmon have higher levels
of the naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids that offer these heart protective attributes. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture recently acknowledged that wild California King salmon have 29.4% more omega-3 fatty acids than
Visit the California Salmon Council website at www.calkingsalmon.org for more information and recipes for
California King salmon.
Note:Fishermen are available for media interviews by calling David Goldenberg at the California Salmon
Council at (916) 933-7050 or mobile (916) 718-8455.He is accessible over the weekend.
*We have available, upon request, a 30-second edited segment (.MOV format) showing fisherman, as
well as consumers and restaurant scenes.We also have additional unedited B roll footage (3:46 min.)
available upon request.
California Salmon Council
Chief Executive Officer
(Accessible over the weekend)