Lean Year For Salmon Fishing Likely To Drive Prices Up

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The price of salmon could be way up as fishermen face what could be one of the worst seasons in years.

With all the storms and all the flooding from this winter’s heavy rains, one might think this would be a great fishing season for salmon.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

“The fish that are coming back in 2017 were born in 2014,” explained John McManus, the Executive Director Golden Gate Salmon Association. “If you recall, we were in a Drought in 2014, a bad one.”

Three years ago, streams were very low, water much warmer and, in some cases, completely dried up. Few baby salmon made it to the open ocean back then, so the number returning now as adults is limited.

“We lost them in super high numbers,” said McManus.

It was so bad three years ago, the Golden Gate Salmon Association teamed up with state hatcheries to put the baby salmon on trucks and deliver them to the bay.

Experts said it was a fine effort that had to be done, but the transported baby salmon were only a drop in the bucket compared to the normal numbers.

Those lucky fish are believed to be the ones returning this year.

“It’s been a tough couple years,” said Larry Collins, the President San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association.

Collins has fished salmon for more than three decades. He says even though this year looks lean, the future looks bright.

“Everybody that can hold on for a couple more years, I think we are going to have some pretty good salmon catches down the road,” said Collins.

So while the price of salmon may go up in the short term during this season, the deluge of rain we’ve had this winter may be just what the doctor ordered to help replenish the depleted salmon stocks in the future.

More from Don Ford
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