Calif. salmon: record prices, disappointing harvest

Boots planted on the floor of his boat in Monterey Harbor, Bryan Lucas hoists his only catch of the day: a sparkling 17-pound Chinook salmon caught May 17 off Pebble Beach.

“The fish have been real spread out, so it’s kind of been hit and miss,” he says. “If you get into them, you catch pretty well. But right now there’s not a lot of fish in the bay.”

Lucas, who’s been commercially fishing Monterey Bay for almost three decades, isn’t complaining too much. Weather and ocean conditions that change by the day make patience a virtue of his industry. The great news, for him, is the $8 per pound he’s been getting off the dock from his buyers.

“The price is high,” he says, “and I think everybody’s having a pretty decent May.”

Monterey Harbormaster Steve Scheiblauer remembers about 15 years ago, when local salmon was fetching less than $1 per pound off the boat. Now fishermen are reporting dock prices of $7.50-$9.50 per pound – almost twice last year’s.

“The price we have now is the best I’ve heard forever,” Scheiblauer says.

Read the full story at the Monterey County Weekly>>

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