The PFMC (Pacific Fisheries Management Council) claims that the reasons for the sudden collapse of the Sacramento fall Chinook stock is “not readily apparent.”
“Ocean conditions have been poor, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong for salmon in freshwater, “ said David Artmann, Vice-Chairman of the PFMC.
However, fishermen point to massive increases in water exports from the California Delta in recent years as the key factor in the decline, accompanied by dams, increasing water pollution, poaching, unscreened diversions, habitat loss and other problems.
“There are many factors that went into our salmon decline, but none as significant as the loss of freshwater flows to the Delta and San Francisco Bay which are essential for maintaining the biological function of this estuary and sustaining native salmon and other fish populations,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, in a press conference held by a coalition of fishing, tribal and environmental groups at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento where the PFMC was meeting today.
“Our task now will be keeping our commercial and recreational salmon fishermen and business solvent while we focus on fixing the Bay and Delta, restoring flows and with them the fish,” Grader stated.