James Phillips, Marine Biologist, (707) 576-2375
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8962
The public is invited to testify at an upcoming public meeting about California salmon populations and the 2011 ocean and river salmon fisheries. The 2011 Salmon Information Meeting, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), will be held March 1 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency Building located at 404 Aviation Boulevard in Santa Rosa.
The rebound of Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in 2010 has sparked intense public interest in the possibility of less restrictive salmon seasons this year. Preliminary data indicates approximately 125,300 adult fall Chinook and 27,500 jacks returned to the Sacramento River Basin. In 2009, the returns of adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon were an all time low of approximately 39,500 and all salmon seasons were closed. Limited fishing seasons were held in 2010.
Salmon biologists and managers will provide the latest information on California salmon escapement in 2010 and the outlook for ocean and river Chinook fisheries in the coming 2011 season, including the possibility of an April 2 opener for sport fisheries south of Horse Mountain. They will discuss data that shows, for the first time since 2003, that Sacramento and Klamath rivers fall Chinook salmon stocks both exceeded their minimum spawner goals of 122,000 and 35,000 adults, respectively. In 2010, more than 37,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults returned to spawn in natural areas.
A California salmon management panel will hear public comment and testimony. The panel is comprised of individuals directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April. The panel includes members of the PFMC, Salmon Technical Team and Salmon Advisory Subgroup.
The input from this meeting will help California representatives negotiate a broad range of season alternatives at the PFMC meeting March 5-10 in Vancouver, Wash. Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Fish and Game Commission, the PFMC and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
More information on west coast salmon returns and ocean fisheries can be found online in the PFMC’s “Review of the 2010 Ocean Salmon Fisheries” at www.pcouncil.org/salmon/stock-assessment-and-fishery-evaluation-safe-documents/review-of-2010-ocean-salmon-fisheries/.
The March 1 meeting marks the beginning of a two month long management process used to establish ocean and river salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings to be held throughout the season setting process can be found on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp