The commercial fishing industry in Northern California is concerned about the upcoming fall salmon season, based on new numbers out from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association says the return of drought-ravaged winter-run Salmon hit rock bottom this summer and that is likely a precursor of what to expect in the months to come, when commercial fall-run salmon are fished.
John McMannus says the huge dip in numbers is the result of warm river water during the drought, killing most of the run while the salmon was still in the egg stage.
He says the state's water managers had a tough job dealing with competing interests when water levels were so low, but he believes salmon stock didn't have to suffer as much as it did.
"Memories are short," McMannus says. "While the National Marine Fisheries Service is attempting to strengthen the temperature regulations to avoid the type of problem we had in 2014 and 2015, they're already meeting push-back from various interests that don't want to do what's needed to keep our salmon runs alive."
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates roughly 1,100 adult winter-run salmon returned to the Central Valley this year, the second lowest number since modern counting techniques were implemented back in 2003.