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California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Photo: CDFW)

California Bans Salmon Fishing For Entire 2023 Season

‘We have seen less fish in recent years, but an outright ban is ridiculous’

By Evan Symon, March 14, 2023 2:33 am

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Monday that salmon fishing in California would be banned for the 2023 season due to a dwindling population.

Professional fishermen are concerned this agency order will be the end for many of their businesses.

While salmon, specifically chinook salmon, ae usually prevalent each salmon season, years of drought have significantly culled their numbers due to less water on land to assist with their spawning. As salmon follow a general three year cycle in which they are hatched in the rivers of California and Oregon and then return as adults, the drought over the last three years has finally taken it’s toll.

While salmon can recharge after a year of drought, the prolonged drought severely hurt their numbers. The CDFW highlighted the Sacramento River in a report last week. In 2022, they had expected around 196,000 to return. However, only 60,000 did. In the Klamath River, 2022 brought the second lowest number of chinook salmon returning since records began in 1997.

“This is a decades-long trend, and the past few years of record drought only further stressed our salmon populations,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Unfortunately, low stock abundance is somewhat expected despite protective and restorative actions California has taken to increase hatchery production, improve release strategies, and increase the availability of critical spawning and rearing habitats.”

With no other option, the CDFW announced last week that salmon fishing would be banned from April to May 15th. In conjunction with Oregon, the ban range was set up from the U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego County to Cape Falcon, Oregon. However, meetings with the Pacific Fishery Management Council during the weekend only stressed how dire the situation was, forcing the CDFW to issue a total season ban on Sunday.

“Fishery managers have determined that there simply aren’t enough salmon in the ocean right now to comfortably get a return of adult salmon to reproduce for 2023,” explained Golden State Salmon Association president John McManus.

The 2023 fishing ban is the first such ban to be instituted since the 2008-2009 salmon fishing ban, when it was instituted due to a similar prolonged drought/dwindling salmon population situation.

While the ban, as well the return of normal water levels brought on by recent storms across the state, are expected to boost the population for next season, the immediate season-long fishing halt is also expected to have a large negative economic impact. Many charter fishing outfits, outdoors activity stores, and other similar industries are expected to see a large drop-off in customers and sales this year, with many depending on the added money to help them through tough economic times.

“We’re screwed, pure and simple,” noted Orrin Lambert, who runs private charter fishing trips, to the Globe on Monday. “We have seen less fish in recent years, but an outright ban is ridiculous. A stringent max number would have been better. I mean, we get fishermen from all over the world coming here to fish for salmon, and for some on the coasts, it is their livelihood. But the state just doesn’t care about us, and now we all have to suddenly scramble on how to make ends meet.”

However, the ban could also be soon extended well into 2024. A proposal by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to ban commercial and ocean salmon sport fishing until April of next year have been already been approved by the Council and is expected to be approved of as early as next month. The Council is to have one final public hearing in Santa Rosa on March 21st, followed by a final adoption of regulations in Foster City during the first week of April.

“If we are shot down for an entire year, that’s going to be the end for many of us,” added Lambert. “This whole situation is just so crazy. The state cares more about fish than it’s people. It’s not right.”

More decisions on salmon fishing in California over the next few years are expected soon.

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20 thoughts on “California Bans Salmon Fishing For Entire 2023 Season

  1. OK by me. I hate Gavin, but fisher-persons need to get a life. Find another way to get away from the wife and family. And, does this “ban” extend to the injuns, too? Bet not. Bet the injuns can carry on normal and do whatever they want. Got $10.00 that says so.

  2. ” But the state just doesn’t care about us, and now we all have to suddenly scramble on how to make ends meet.”
    Well, just keep voting democrat, dumass. You voted for this, now EAT IT…LICK YOUR LIBERAL PLATTER CLEAN! This is what you wanted, this is what you got. KWITCHERBELLYACHIN’!!!
    Maybe it’s time to step away from the donkeys at voting time? Maybe? Ya think?

    1. Does voting matter anymore after years of rampant Democrat voter fraud and rigged voting machines? Why does it take weeks to decide elections in California and Democrats always seem to have just a enough votes to win?

  3. Thank you CA leaders! Prevention is key. As for Native American Reservations, if they fished every last salmon from the rivers, it still wouldn’t even come close to the restitution we owe them. Your 200+ years of ancestry on this land is nothing.

    1. Restitution? New archaeological evidence has found that America was first settled by stone-age people from Europe that arrived 10,000 years before the Siberian-originating ancestors of the American Indians set foot in the New World. The ancestors of Amy M and everyone came from somewhere else and no one is owed restitution.

    2. Amy M. You seem to think that America would never have been settled if not for the “white” man. How naive. You were a stone age people and easy pickings on the only continent left.
      You are lucky Americans still give you a chance of get off the rez and have a life.
      Evolution passed you by.

  4. So dumping all our water down the drain is failing to increase salmon populations? Good thing we are running farmers out of business and making people live with brown lawns!

  5. So if the salmon get a respite, does this mean that the State Water Board doesn’t have to drain the reservoirs, ostensibly to “protect the salmon habitat”???

  6. Some of us wonder if CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham and the rest of the unelected bureaucrats at CDFW who have decreed that salmon fishing in California would be banned for the 2023 season are receiving payoffs and other incentives from an outside source? Maybe from one or more of the environmental groups funded by George Soros or the WEF globalists?

    1. Who is Charlton Hall Bonham that issued the edict that there would be no salmon fishing allowed in 2023? He was installed as the Director of CDWF by former Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. He’s an environmental attorney who represented Trout Unlimited for ten years and he served on the Delta Conservancy Board of Directors. He’s bald, in his 50’s and lives mostly in Albany, CA. In 2020, there was a class action lawsuit filed against him and CDFW seeking to eliminate discriminatory policies and customs at CDFW that institutionalized racial preferences in connection with recruiting, hiring, and other conditions of employment. There have been petitions circulated to have him replaced as CDWF Director because of his strong bias against commercial/recreational fishing activities and because he’s abusing his position as CDWF Director to issue decrees.

      1. Interesting. Thanks for posting, Dana. Sounds like he may be one of the guys I remember hearing about many many years ago who apparently have an interest in making money off of the Delta (through supposedly “conserving” the Delta) by making much of it into an exclusive tourist destination. Thus there is a money interest here. I don’t know, however, if any of this has yet been realized.

  7. More buzzkill make-everyone-as-miserable-as-we-are nonsense from the State. Why can’t the state just leave these fishermen ALONE to enjoy a little piece of Paradise? Which is taken away in every other arena? This is completely ridiculous and punitive and probably designed to make even more sensible-minded people leave the state in frustration. Gaaahh!

  8. We lived at the Delta and witnessed seals devastating the fish population. Devouring every kind of fish, there are thousands of seals in the delta water ways. These seals are also dangerous to boaters! Other states up north had the same problem with seals eating their salmon and they had to eradicate the seals before they devastated the salmon population. How about we give that a try before a multibillion dollar industry!

  9. 3-yr salmon cycle.
    3-yr “drought” (🙄)
    So, next year we should be good to go on salmon fishing, right?
    Just kidding, once leftist Enviro-Marxists say “NO MORE!”- whatever it is – it’s not gonna be legal ever again.

  10. First of all, cut the “keeper size” of striped bass in rivers from 18” to 12”, and increase bag limit from 3 to ten to ten. Stripers eat salmon smolt like kids in a candy store.
    Second of all, kill the sea lions. They are not endangered in the Sacramento river, and they eat salmon by the ton.
    But in typical fashion, when there are decisions to make California invariably makes the wrong one.

  11. I enjoy fishing for salmon every year in the ocean. The state has an excellent hatchery program. When all the dams were built it should have been mandatory to install fish ladders, but we humans are too stupid. Part The war is between the farmers and fishermen, the farmers win out every time, how many almond trees do we need? How much rice? There is not just one solution to the salmon decline, Tear down unwanted dams, add fish ladders to existing dams, release water at crucial times, limit new orchard farms, shorten the salmon season, and decrease the limit to one fish of 22″.Above all DO NOT allow the delta tunnels to go through, let southern California find its own water. If these tunnels get approved, forget about salmon, stripper, and sturgeon, all these species need fresh water to migrate and spawn. Saltwater will infiltrate the delta we will be fishing for flounder in Isleton. It already is at times. Fishermen need to organize and take action to all the above problems and stop blaming people. Lets start now!

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