California Salmon Fishing Season Officially Closed for Second Consecutive Year

On Wednesday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to finalize the cancellation of the California ocean salmon season for the second consecutive year, dealing a severe blow to the state’s fishing industry, which is already grappling with the aftermath of last year’s closure.

The decision is rooted in persistently low water levels and elevated temperatures in salmon spawning rivers, leading to alarmingly low population levels. In 2023, only about 134,000 adult fall-run Chinook salmon returned to the Sacramento River watershed, a significant drop from historical averages of 1 to 2 million fish annually.

The economic repercussions of the decision are dire, with estimates suggesting losses ranging from $45 million to $65 million from last year’s closure. Despite a federal allocation of over $20 million in disaster aid, many fishermen are yet to receive any financial support.

Industry groups express concerns that consecutive closures could further diminish the Pacific Coast fishing fleet, which has already dwindled from nearly 5,000 vessels in the 1980s to 464 in 2022. Sportfishing guides, who rely heavily on salmon season for business, fear another year of substantial losses after experiencing an 80% drop in revenue following last year’s closure.

The salmon fishing season, typically spanning from May to October, faces uncertainty pending approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service by mid-May. As stakeholders await a decision, the future of California’s ocean salmon industry hangs in the balance, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable solutions to protect the iconic species and safeguard the livelihoods of those dependent on it.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


  1. $20,000 Million allocated…BUT has not got to the fishing industry? So where did all that money go? Sounds a bit….(excuse the term…) fishy….. Kinda like those fire victims from some of the New Mexico fires….. WHERE is this money going….. sure not helping those who need the $$$$….

  2. I’m sure tearing out dams didn’t help in saving salmon. 1 000s of salmon and other fish died, leaving the land muddy and a Nasty smell. Many tears shed over this latest action

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