Salmon fishing will be nearly halted off most of the Oregon and California coasts and harvest levels would shrink significantly off the Washington coast under a plan approved yesterday by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
According to the Seattle Times, the situation underscores the challenges in trying to rebuild the region's once-abundant fish runs. The cutbacks will hit sport, tribal and commercial trollers, as well as coastal towns which look to strong salmon seasons to help draw visitors. They could also mean scarce supplies and steeper prices for consumers who buy fresh-caught Northwest salmon rather than much more abundant wild Alaskan or farmed fish.
"Collectively, from Canada to Mexico, this will be the worst ever season off the West Coast," said Don McIssac, executive director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which will pass on the harvest plan to NOAA Fisheries for final approval. Both Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire are expected to seek federal assistance for the hardest-hit fishermen.
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