MEDFORD (AP) — Ongoing problems with Sacramento River salmon survival means there likely will be very little, if any, sport and commercial salmon fishing this summer off the Southern Oregon coast.
Preliminary stock assessments estimate only 229,400 Sacramento River fall chinook will be in the ocean, according to federal Pacific Fishery Management Council reports. That's 1,300 fewer than last year's small run, whose protection shut down sport and commercial chinook fishing off Southern Oregon.
Salmon managers heading into the Pacific Fishery Management Council's March 8-14 meeting said they think the council will be able to propose at least possible sport and commercial seasons with as little impact to Sacramento salmon stocks as possible.
Richard Heap of Brookings-Harbor, who is vice chairman of the PFMC's salmon advisory subpanel, remains hopeful despite the numbers. "I'm going up there with the possibility that we'll fish this year, unlike last year.
"We'll have to wait and see how it plays out."
The Pacific Fishery Management Council is expected to float three sport and commercial season options for public comment. Heap said he "wouldn't be surprised" if one of those options calls for a repeat of last year when the season failed to happen, The Medford Mail Tribune reported .
The Pacific Fishery Management Council will set its final season recommendations when it meets April 5-11 in Portland. The federal Department of Commerce has the final say in setting ocean-fishing seasons.