Fishermen excited for healthy salmon season

March 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The salmon should be biting this year. That's the word from the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The group met Wednesday in Sacramento.

As soon as salmon season gets underway next month, the boats at Fisherman's Wharf are going to be busy and that has local fishermen very thankful.

"Oh my God, everybody has such high hopes for this season. The predictions that are out there are absolutely phenomenal," said fisherman Jared Davis.

Davis captains the "Wacky Jacky" out of Fisherman's Wharf. It's a party boat that takes people fishing. And fishing for salmon is about to get really good, which is great news for both commercial and sport fishermen.

"We came up with three options to go up for public review to narrow down to one option in the season structure for next month. We're looking at the best season we can possibly hope for," said Duncan MacLean from the Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

MacLean represents California's salmon industry. The 2012 recreational season starts April 7, commercial gets underway May 1st, and the season could last as late as early November.

"They're calling for a 1.5 million Klamath fish in the ocean and over 800,000 Sacramento fish. Which is a real boom compared to the last couple of years," said MacLean.

"We were completely closed in '08 and '09 and we barely fished in '10 and in '10 there were very few to fish even when we were open," said Victor Gonella from the Golden Gate Salmon Association.

Ganello says it was water being diverted to the Central Valley for other uses that caused the salmon shortage.

"This is really the result of better water management, better flows down our rivers through the delta and into the Golden Gate," said Ganello.

And water won't be the only thing flowing.

"This will mean $1.4 billion in revenue for local communities this year, if we get the kind of season that we're all hoping for," said Ganello.

That would keep captains like Davis in business.

"This is my life. I've done this for 25 years. I'm a fisherman and a harvester by nature," said Davis.

Davis said they lost a lot of fishermen during those hard years. He said their boat was able to keep active by having a couple of good crab years. Again, the fishermen are really anxious to get started with the salmon season and the public will know when the season ends sometime next month.


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