By Dan Bacher / Record Correspondent Posted Feb 19, 2019 at 5:53 PM
Do you want to hear about the prospects for the upcoming ocean and river salmon seasons? Well, you’ll have your chance if you attend the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s upcoming salmon information meeting.
The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa.
The meeting will feature the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries, in addition to a review of last year’s salmon fisheries and spawning escapement.
Anglers are encouraged to provide potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.
Based on the available data, the outlook for the salmon season is mixed.
“The number of adult salmon that returned to the Sacramento Valley in 2018 is not great,” John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, (GGSA), said, “but the number of two year old jacks that returned to the Sacramento River is much better than last year.”
The number of two-year-olds is used to estimate how many adults are in the ocean now, a key to determining the coming ocean season, noted McManus. The 2018 jack returns were 41,184, compared to the 24,400 jacks that returned in 2017.
A total of 105,739 hatchery and natural area adult spawners were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River Basin in 2018, meeting the criteria for “overfished” status in 2018
Fall Chinook returns to Sacramento River hatcheries in 2018 totaled 33,815 adults, and escapement to natural areas was 71,924 adults.
The 2019 Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to develop annual sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing recommendations.
Public input will help California representatives develop a range of recommended season alternatives during the March 5-12 PFMC meeting in Vancouver, Wash. The PFMC will finalize the recommended season dates at its April 9-16 meeting in Rohnert Park.
A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page: www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon/preseason