Commercial salmon fishing got off to a slow start in May due to windy weather and has stayed in a slump that local fishermen are blaming on unusually warm ocean water in one of the worst king salmon seasons in memory.
Some Bodega Bay-based anglers gave up rather than scramble for meager catches of underweight and undersized salmon, despite the relatively high dockside prices of $5 to $8 a pound.
Seafood distributors, meanwhile, are bringing in fresh, wild salmon from Fort Bragg and the Klamath River region in California to as far north as Alaska and Canada. “There’s always some fish around,” said Michael Lucas of North Coast Fisheries, a Santa Rosa wholesaler.
On Monday, local stores had salmon on ice for $16 to $20 a pound.
But for local fishermen, the season is a bust, with the catch through August at 30 percent of last year’s harvest and equally shy of the forecast for the current season.
“It’s just not worth it,” said Chris Lawson, a 40-year fishing veteran, who said he quit going out for salmon in mid-July and is now awaiting the start of Dungeness crab season this fall.
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