Predictions for a robust king salmon haul buoyed California fishermen assembled Wednesday for a preseason meeting with state and federal regulators, even if forecasts fell short of last year’s projection.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has forecast 634,650 king salmon out in the ocean from the Sacramento River system’s fall run, an index used each year to shape the season ahead.
That’s more than 200,000 lower than the projection issued last year. But it’s still good news for those who suffered through 2008 and ’09, when stocks bottomed out and there was no commercial fishing at all.
The forecast was not affected by drought conditions that have stranded some spawning salmon in rivers and streams brought low by lack of rainfall because those impacts will likely be felt later, said marine fisheries biologist Michael O’Farrell.
“The long and short of it is we’ll get a season, but it’s not as good as last year,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association.