Del Norte’s representatives in the state legislature are behind a resolution that calls for disaster relief in connection with California’s 2016 and 2017 salmon fisheries.
Senate Joint Resolution 7, introduced by State Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood, calls for commercial fishery failure determinations and urges state and federal departments and agencies to make statewide salmon fishery restoration “an urgent and high priority,” according to a press release issued Wednesday by McGuire’s staff.
The Senate Joint Resolution passed unanimously in the Senate Natural Resources Committee this week.
“The 2017 season is predicted to be one of the worst seasons on record,” McGuire said in a written statement. “We all have to step up and assist the thousands of Californians who are facing unrelenting struggle. Our state and federal agencies need to make their recovery an urgent and top priority.”
This resolution comes ahead of a 2017 season that’s predicted to be the worst on record, particularly for the Klamath River. With less than 12,000 adult chinook expected to enter the Klamath River this fall, coupled with 13,914 last year and 28,112 in 2015, fishery scientists expect the river to reach overfished status in 2018.
As a result, the Pacific Fishery Management Council has canceled commercial fishing for Klamath River chinook between Humbug Mountain in Oregon and Horse Mountain north of Shelter Cove in Humboldt County. The California Fish and Game Commission has recommended that no recreational fishing take place. And with an allocation of just 650 fish, the lowest on record, the Yurok Tribe has cancelled its commercial chinook fishery this year.
The poor salmon returns are due to extended drought, which led to the proliferation of the disease Ceratonova Shasta, and warm ocean conditions.
Wood and McGuire’s Senate Joint Resolution 7 also presses state agencies to adapt to climate change and recognize the devastating impact it has on California’s salmon populations, according to the press release.
McGuire and Wood, chair and co-chair respectively for the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, held a public hearing last month focusing on California’s salmon. During that hearing, McGuire cited a report from the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis and the nonprofit organization California Trout, which concluded that 52 percent of inland salmonid species in California could be extinct within 50 years.
Senate Joint Resolution 7 is supported by the Golden Gate Salmon Association, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association, the California Salmon Council, River Partners, California Trout, Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy, according to McGuire’s press release.