Posted by: facescafish | May 8, 2008

Salmon Season Sunk

Being married to a commercial fisherman is – in the eyes of the world – supposed to make me knowledgeable on every aspect of fishing.  In reality, I learn something every day from my husband, he’s the expert. But since I am the one who is seen around town, I get asked questions about fishing every day.  In the past few weeks the “collapse” of the salmon fishery is the topic at the grocery store, post office, gas station, gym and bank.  People want to know what caused this latest disaster, what will Jeff (my husband) fish for this summer instead of salmon, where should they go to buy salmon and what can they do to help.

What caused this disaster?  I don’t know.  In my opinion, this was all brought on by mismanagement and Mother Nature.  Uncontrolled sea lions, too much water out of the river systems, changing ocean temperatures etc. – It all happened.

As for what will Jeff do this summer instead of fishing salmon.  I don’t know.  I’m worried.  There is talk of disaster relief, but somehow I don’t think it will arrive in time to pay the electric bill and buy groceries.  Jeff would rather fish than take a handout….period.  He would like to try some ideas he has, but will he be able to?  Most likely not as the regulations in place are to the point of strangulation.  In the old days he would have changed fisheries, plain and simple.  If you didn’t catch salmon you changed to rock fish or halibut. 

I tell people to buy wild Alaskan salmon until we can get back on our feet.  Don’t buy farmed fish, please!  We all know that a wild caught product is far superior. 

If people want to help the California Salmon Fleet, please buy other local fish.  Help us out when it comes to voting on some of these regulations.  Fishermen are one of the strongest stewards of the oceans.  It makes sense that the people who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods will protect it.  Listen to them.

I invite you to share your thoughts on the collapse of the 2008 California Salmon season.

Thank you and be careful out on the big pond.

 Lori French

The Faces of California Fishing



  1. Throughout the 1980’s, 90’s and up until 2004, the California salmon industry sustained record catches of troll caught salmon, despite numerous droughts and El Nino events. After the severe drought and El Nino of 1976-77, the directors of PCFFA recognized the need to address poor river water conditions in the CV and seek a way to improve the returns of hatchery released fish. First, a means to fund this effort was neccesary and the Salmon Enhancement Stamp was born. Next came a new method of hatchery release; the fry were raised to smolts and placed in trucks for release West of the Delta into acclimaton pens and further released from there to their journey to the Golden Gate and beyond. This increased the returns to hatcheries dramatically, 250%-1100%. The level of ocean abundance increased by threefold. The California Fisheries Foundation, through grants from Delta and salmon enhancement funds, carried out this work.

    Then, in 2004 and 2005, the California Fisheries Foundation (a non profit doing salmon, steelhead and bass restoration work) did not apply for grants and the practice of off-site release into acclimation pens missed two consecutive years. The result was a dramatic decline in ocean abundance and in-river returns. Now, in the spring of 2008, CFF and the DFG has released a record number of smolts into pens west of the Delta; 20 million fish headed for the open ocean this year. It will be three years before they return to the CV system, so we will have to wait and see what happens. Clearly, the DFG now recognizes the importance of by-passing the Delta as a component part of the hatchery system. I hope.

    Ernie Koepf

  2. Hello Lori:

    I have referred to your post about the struggling fishing community on my blog,



  3. Hey everyone just wanna say hello and introduce myself!

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