Lawmakers push to alleviate devastating salmon losses


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood continue to push to make the recovery of California's salmon population an urgent priority throughout the state and at the federal level.

The North Coast's legislative leaders introduced Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR7), which was heard and passed unanimously in the Senate Natural Resources Committee this week, according to Senator McGuire's office.

"This resolution represents the California Legislature's request for disaster assistance for our state's salmon fleet, families and communities," Sen. McGuire said. "Our state and federal agencies need to make their recovery an urgent and top priority."

Senator McGuire said something needs to be done, and fast, to aid in the devastating losses to California's iconic salmon fishery.

"The 2017 season is predicted to be one of the worst seasons on record," he said. "We all have to step up and assist the thousands of Californians who are facing unrelenting struggle."

SJR7 calls for state and federal agencies to make collaborative, statewide salmon fishery restoration an urgent and high priority. It would also provide disaster relief for California salmon fisheries in 2016 and 2017.

"Climate change is here and it is having a devastating impact on our salmon populations," Assemblymember Jim Wood said. "These species are resilient, but if we don't reevaluate our strategies and our priorities we will all pay the price."

According to Senator McGuire's office, 502,110 salmon were caught off the California coast in 2004. In 2016, they said, just 55,051 were caught - an 89 percent decrease. The projected 2017 population of Klamath River Chinook salmon in the ocean are at the lowest level in history.

According to scientists, salmon could be extinct from the Sacramento River watershed in the next decade.

In fact, of the 10 times in the past 65 years that the adult population of Bay-Delta Chinook salmon have fallen below 250,000 fish, eight have occurred in the past 12 years.

SJR7 is supported by the Golden Gate Salmon Association, Pacific Coast federation of Fishermen's Association, California Salmon Council, River Partners, California Trout, Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy.