PORTLAND, Ore. — California’s commercial salmon season could resume for a few days, despite worries that it might endanger already-low salmon runs.
In addition to restoring a commercial chinook season in California, the Pacific Fishery Management Council also gave tentative approval Monday to an Oregon commercial and sport chinook season along the full coastline for the first time in two years.
The council is meeting this week in Portland to set policy and management plans for West Coast fisheries. But what filled a hotel ballroom Monday was discussion of its salmon management plan, which comes in the wake of a stronger salmon population.
The plan was rare positive news to coastal communities, which have received $170 million in federal disaster relief over the last two years to help cope with fishing losses.
The closures and ever-increasing regulations have nearly destroyed the Central Coast’s once-booming commercial fishing fleet in recent years.
The salmon plan, which will be adjusted before being formally approved Thursday, is tempered by caution for those who depend on salmon for their livelihood or recreational experiences.
Even though they recommended resuming commercial chinook fishing in California, fishery authorities also asked the council to prepare wording for an emergency closure if the predicted fish don’t turn up.
Commercial and sport fishing were closed off California’s coast the past two years.