Disastrous Drop in California Salmon

Disturbing news from the California coast:

Salmon1Federal fisheries managers on Friday took the initial step toward imposing what could be the strictest limits ever on West Coast salmon fishing amid a precipitous drop in fish returning to California’s Sacramento Valley.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously adopted three options for sport and commercial fishing off the Pacific Coast, including an unprecedented complete shutdown of fishing off California and Oregon.

This is a major disaster. We’ve never had one ever like this,” council chairman Donald Hansen said after the vote. “It will have a major impact on California commercial fisheries for salmon, recreational
fisheries, California charters.”

This year’s troubles are blamed on several factors, including poor water quality and unusual weather patterns. But long-term, salmon face an even larger threat – global warming. Because they need cold water, even small temperature increases can lead to widespread loss of salmon habitat. Rising sea levels are also bringing changes to water salinity where streams and rivers meet the ocean.

To learn more, read our recent report on sea level rise and the Pacific Northwest.