A relief call due to the 2023 closure of the salmon season

A relief call due to the 2023 closure of the salmon season

A recent article was published on the Times Standard website regarding the closure of the salmon season. Below are some details pulled from that article as well as the video of North Coast U.S. Rep Jared Hoffman and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s news conference on Friday, April 7th. The full article can be found on the Times Standard website.

Times Standard

Original article written by RUTH SCHNEIDER | rschneider@times-standard.com | Eureka Times-Standard
PUBLISHED: April 7, 2023 at 12:17 p.m. | UPDATED: April 7, 2023 at 12:18 p.m

North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman speaks Friday morning in San Francisco about the closure of the salmon season.
North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman speaks Friday morning in San Francisco about the closure of the salmon season. (Screenshot)

North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman joined former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a handful of business people affected by the closure of the salmon fishery for the season, calling for emergency funding to get to stakeholders faster than in past years.

“This is not a happy occasion,” Huffman said as he began the news conference. “This dreary weather is pretty fitting for the dark situation that we’re all here to talk about; a statewide closure of the California salmon season is terrible news.”

On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis announced they requested federal aid in the face of the economic downturn that will result from the closure of the fishery. (Read the letter here)

“Countless families, coastal communities and tribal nations depend on salmon fishing – it’s more than an industry, it’s a way of life. That’s why we’re requesting expedited relief from the federal government,” Newsom said in a prepared statement. “We’re committed to working with the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure California’s fisheries aren’t left behind.”

Huffman explained there is a “two-part challenge” facing lawmakers to help the industry — expediting disaster relief and working toward restoring salmon populations for long-term sustainability.

“The good news is in the last Congress with Speaker Pelosi in leadership, we made some very important legislative changes to the way we do fishery disasters, it should speed things up quite a bit,” Huffman noted. “We also appropriated $300 million. That should give us a head start on trying to secure those funds and get them out the door to folks who need it.”

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot noted that some funding has already been provided to assist in salmon recovery.

“There’s a lot that we can do and we need to do,” Crowfoot said. “… the sovereign Yurok government, our most populous tribe in California, yesterday received almost $5 million from our California Department of Fish and Wildlife to construct or restore habitat along the Trinity River, which is going to be really helpful to salmon. It’s projects like that, that give me hope that we’re going to persist through this.”

Several business owners spoke about how disastrous the closure is for restaurants, fishermen and outdoors suppliers.

Ken Elie of Outdoor Pro Shop said he’s already had to lay off one-quarter of his workforce.

“Up until recently I had 39 employees,” Elie said. “I am the largest independent fishing tackle dealer west of the Mississippi. But we’ve already had to lay off 10 people and probably going to have to lay off more. I can only get down to a certain number because I have a very, very large retail store.”

In addition to the details in this article, we wanted to share some additional commentary from the news conference:

Sarah Bates
Sarah Bates, a San Francisco fishermen. (Screenshot)

“Normally the first week of April at Pier 45 is really bustling. Recreational season should be open,” she explains. “We should be bringing salmon back to San Francisco for your restaurants and your tables and instead we have a complete closure of all recreational and Commercial salmon fishing in the entire State of California.”

Sarah goes on to discuss the resilience of the King Salmon and their ability to survive changes in nature such as landslides, droughts, changing temperatures, ocean changes and more.

She explains, “what they can’t survive is some of the Water Management policies that are putting their breeding habitat at risk.”

But she goes on to thank the Department of Fish and Wildlife, elected representatives, and governor for requesting a declaration of fishery disaster in order to bring attention to this matter so the fishermen can continue to bring this public resource to the tables and restaurants of the community.

Kenny Belov
Salmon Council Member Kenny Belov speaks about how to support the fishermen and the industry. (Screenshot)

Our friend and Salmon Council Board Member, Kenny Belov is a co-owner of Two By Sea wholesale company at Pier 45 and Fish restaurant in Sausalito. While he recognizes the devastation of the loss of the 2023 salmon season, he encourages consumers to continue to support the local fishing community.

“We have a saying in our business that Seafood without a story is flavorless. And that flavor comes from the people that bring us the local fish that we can serve. The party boat and the sport boat captains that take us out to create memories that will last a lifetime. Without those individuals we serve flavorless seafood and I refuse to serve flavorless Seafood.”

He explains that the way you can support these fishermen is to continue demanding locally caught seasood.

“I beg of you, demand locally caught seafood while we wait for salmon to recover.” He continues, “We can still do so much when we go out as consumers and demand that what these folks are catching behind me. That they still have a fighting chance to continue for generations to come.”

You can watch the news conference on Youtube or below.