April 29, 2006, Alexandria, VA-The efforts of thousands of anglers and the sportfishing industry that resulted in a recommendation for a recreational salmon season by the Pacific Fishery Management Council has been approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the Department of Commerce. In a change from their prior position that the season should be closed, NMFS has responded to the near unanimous vote by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) on April 6, 2006, to allow a sportfishing salmon season similar to that of 2005. The California season will run from May 1 through November 12.
This will moderate the adverse impact on the sportfishing industry in California and parts of Oregon that would have otherwise been extreme. Sportfishing in California alone has a $4.9 billion impact on the state's economy and is second only to Florida in total angler expenditures. There are 2.4 million sport fishermen in California. Sportfishing supports 43,000 jobs, pays $1.3 billion in salaries and wages, and pays $456 million annually in state and federal taxes.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Coastside Fishing Club, ASA's West Coast members and other angling groups joined efforts to inform the administration and state and federal policy makers about the issue and its impact on the sportfishing community. Local efforts included rallies, appearances at hearings, petitions and letter writing campaigns, as well as meetings with fishery officials. ASA coordinated the effort at the national level generating over 8,000 letters to garner support from Congress and state and federal policy makers. ASA staff also met with Congressional, administration and federal agency leaders about the issue.
"We are pleased that the Department of Commerce has concurred with the Council and allowed for a season to proceed this year," Gordon Robertson, ASA VP said. "We must now turn our attention to supporting discussions among all stakeholders in the Klamath River Basin that seek to restore a sustainable salmon population for all uses. We are encouraged by these discussions and urge the administration to support and assist such cooperative conservation efforts."
The American Sportfishing Association is the sportfishing industry's trade association, uniting more than 650 members of the sportfishing and boating industries with state fish and wildlife agencies, federal land and water management agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists. The American Sportfishing Association safeguards and promotes the enduring social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing.