Chinook salmon returns to California waters are predicted to be low this year. State and federal fishery scientists announced predictions of spawning Chinook and the expected abundance for the 2017 fishing season at the annual Ocean Salmon Information Meeting.
Forecasts suggest there are 230,700 Sacramento River fall run Chinook adults in the ocean this year, along with 54,200 Klamath River fall run adults. Both forecasts are lower than those of recent years, with the forecast for Klamath fall run being among the lowest on record.
Salmon from these runs typically comprise the majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.
The 2017 forecasts, in addition to information on endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook, will be used over the next two months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas, and size and bag limits.
Chinook that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2017 hatched two to four years ago, and were deeply affected by poor river conditions driven by California’s recent drought.
CDFW and federal fish agency partners expended millions of dollars on measures to minimize the impacts of the drought. Efforts have included trucking the majority of hatchery salmon smolts to acclimation pens in the lower Delta, improving hatchery infrastructure to keep juvenile fish alive under poor water quality conditions, and partnering with sport and commercial fishermen to increase smolt survival.
Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission.
source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife