FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2020
San Francisco — The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously today to approve an emergency regulation authorizing the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to temporarily suspend, delay, or restrict sport and recreational fishing in specific areas within the state when necessary to protect public health from the threat posed by COFID-19. The Commission acted after being asked by several counties to shut the inland trout fishery which is scheduled to open the last weekend in April. The emergency regulation requires the Director of the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to consult with the president of the state’s Fish and Game Commission prior to closing a fishery and is set to expire on May 31.
“What this action might mean for the sport salmon season, scheduled to open May 1, remains to be seen,” said John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA). “The regulation approved today could allow the state to delay the salmon fishery after considering input from a host of public health officials including at the state and county levels as well as the CDC, local law enforcement and others.”
In a related development, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently added a regulation giving itself the authority to delay or close salmon fishing through the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The NMFS language reads:
“NMFS may close fisheries through in-season action on the recommendation of the affected state(s) of Washington, Oregon or California where the recommendation to close is informed by an evaluation of actions or orders promulgated or issued by jurisdictions in these areas to address public health concerns related to COVID19 concluding that these actions would likely make access to the fishery impracticable (e.g., restrictions on activities or closure of harbors, launch ramps and other forms of access) or would make information essential to manage and implement the fishery unavailable. NMFS should open fisheries closed on this basis through in-season action upon notice from the affected State(s) that said actions or orders making access to the fishery impracticable have been lifted and information essential to manage and implement the fishery would be available.”
“NMFS already pushed the sport ocean salmon season back by about
a month and could do it again. As of
today, the state can also
act to change the sport ocean
salmon fishing season,” said
McManus of GSSA. “GSSA will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any changes.”
State sources tell GSSA they expect the scheduled commercial salmon fishing seasons in California to proceed as an essential food producing service.
About GSSA: The Golden State Salmon Association (www.goldenstatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen and women, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GSSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity and 23,000 jobs annually in a normal season and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. Industry workers benefiting from Central Valley salmon stretch from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This includes commercial fishermen and women, recreational fishermen and women (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and others.
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Media contact: John McManus, 650-218-8650