The recent volatility of Northern California waterways has taken its toll on fish populations, with the Upper Klamath-Trinity River spring Chinook salmon experiencing especially treacherous conditions. Now the fish species is under consideration to be protected under the California Endangered Species Act.
At an upcoming February 6 California Fish and Game Commission meeting, the commission will be considering public comment on whether to legally protect the salmon, a move that will have far-reaching financial and environmental impacts on some Northern California communities.
To say the spring Chinook salmon runs on the Klamath Basin have dwindled would be an understatement. Historical runs would likely have totaled over 100,000, while the most recent runs are only around 2,000, due to dams and diversions limiting their spawning journey. Scientists have predicted that the spring runs could all but disappear in the next 50 years.
California Trout, the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council all support listing the salmon as an endangered species.
It is unknown exactly what listing the Chinook as endangered would mean for Klamath Basin salmon fishing. Regulations could range from no fishing on the Klamath from January 1 through August 14, to catch and release during that time period.
The fishing community is encouraged to attend the meeting on February 6 at 8:30 am to provide comment on the subject. The meeting address is below:
Auditorium, First Floor
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814