Article Category: PCFFA

Developing Salmon-Friendly Forestry

Developing Salmon-Friendly Forestry

There is a quiet—but long overdue—revolution going on in the way Oregon regulates its state- and privately owned forestland commercial logging practices. And the state’s depressed salmon runs will greatly benefit from those changes. Salmon spawn and rear best in natural forest environments, where old-growth streamside shade trees and unpolluted cold-water springs create all the right conditions for salmon eggs to hatch. The young salmon then can find abundant insect and in-river food sources to help them grow fast as they prepare for their strenuous migration to the sea as smolts. But all too often, those once widespread (and particularly old-growth) forests that salmon need for spawning and rearing have been clear-cut, once-pristine mountain streams polluted, and legacy logging roads (p...
The California Salmon Plan

The California Salmon Plan

The “California Salmon Strategy for a Hotter, Drier Future” was released by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Jan. 30. It lists six goals and 71 actions intended to build healthier, stronger salmon populations throughout the state in the face of climate change-induced drought and heat.     Some of those actions are ongoing or in the pipeline. Many are aspirational. The strategy’s planning horizon is the next three years of Newsom’s term as governor and so it amounts to a salmon “to do” list for his administration, involving multiple agencies. It’s ambitious, but much needed. And in the face of likely climate change impacts, it’s also a forward-looking planning process that other states should emulate. First of all, we thank Gov. Newsom for having a salmon recovery strategy at all, and for...
An Introduction to the PCFFA’s New Executive Director

An Introduction to the PCFFA’s New Executive Director

Growing up, I believed that most anything could be repaired with a needle of Dungeness crab pot wire and a roll of electrical tape. Both of these things lived in the junk drawer of my childhood home and in an accessible location everywhere I have lived since. Looking back, I realize that it was not the tools that held that power to make broken things work again, but the commercial fisherman with his resourceful, problem-solving mind and calloused, cracked hands wielding tools that got the job done. That commercial fisherman was my dad, and at times my grandfather, both of whom regularly entertained me and shared life lessons while weaving crab pots, splicing rope or tying salmon leaders. I was never interested in working on the boat; that was my brother’s passion (and still is). Still...
Hope for Future Fisheries During Tough Times

Hope for Future Fisheries During Tough Times

These last few years have been terribly hard for West Coast commercial fisheries, without a doubt. Two of the once most profitable West Coast fisheries—salmon and Dungeness crab—are both now severely restricted. The 2023 salmon season was totally closed in California and much of Oregon, and another record-breaking salmon season closure is looming for at least California in 2024. These are back-to-back fisheries disasters. Yet in the midst of all these assaults on our fisheries, there is still cause for some optimism.  Many of these threats to fisheries are being met head-on by our industry with some successes, which means hope for improved fisheries in upcoming years. This article highlights those efforts and successes. Salmon Habitat Restoration Klamath Dam Removals Scheduled for 20...
NOAA’s National Seafood Strategy

NOAA’s National Seafood Strategy

Oddly, until now there had never been an overarching U.S. national seafood strategy to guide federal policies that affect our seafood industry. To NOAA’s credit, this changed in August 2023 with the publication of the first-ever NOAA Fisheries National Seafood Strategy. This article takes a closer look at the strategy, what it means and how it might best be implemented. Goals and quotes below are from the document itself. Goal 1: Maintain or Increase Sustainable U.S. Wild Capture Production “Fisheries Science. Provide the natural and social science necessary for fisheries management to adapt under changing ecosystem dynamics.” Sustainable fisheries management must always be based on the best available science.  Science-based fisheries management is also required by law (Magnuson-Steven...
Paying for Offshore Wind Fishery Impacts

Paying for Offshore Wind Fishery Impacts

With the onrush of new offshore wind (OSW) projects planned all over the U.S. West Coast (most recently with new designated areas offshore in Oregon), and both state and national policies pushing these projects hard, the real fear in the commercial fishing industry is that the protection needs of many valuable ocean fisheries will simply be ignored. OSW projects are, unfortunately, going to be sited where the ocean winds are strongest and most reliable. These are often the areas of greatest fish abundance, because they are the areas with strongest cold-water upwellings. Strong ocean winds create and power these same upwellings, which provide vital nutrients to support multiple fish species in those key fisheries areas. Threats to Fisheries We have written before about the potential har...
Toxic Tires: Getting 6PPD Out

Toxic Tires: Getting 6PPD Out

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the fishing folks we represent have never been timid about taking on hard tasks, especially when it comes to protecting our fisheries. PCFFA was formed in 1976 for the specific purpose of protecting—and where necessary, restoring—sustainable commercial fishing as a way of life, including using the combined strength of the many local fishermen’s organizations that make up the PCFFA to take on all the hard tasks involved. Since salmon has long been a major West Coast ocean fishery (in spite of recent collapses) our mission also means working hard to protect and restore damaged salmon habitat wherever salmon occur, all the way up to the tops of coastal watersheds. PCFFA’s sister organization, the Institute for Fisheries Resources...
Managing Offshore Wind Threats  to West Coast Fisheries

Managing Offshore Wind Threats to West Coast Fisheries

Note: The suddenly looming threat of massive, industrial-scale offshore wind farm development in the midst of the West Coast’s most productive fisheries is alarming. Identifying, avoiding and mitigating impacts on our fisheries is now a high industry priority. This special guest column by former PCFFA/IFR Executive Director Mike Conroy, now with the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), will help bring West Coast fishing industry leaders up to speed on these issues as well as highlighting opportunities for making our fishing industry’s voice better heard. Endnote source references are indicated in the text by numbers in parenthesis.  – Glen Spain, Executive Director, PCFFA and IFR. As many harvesters headed out during a busy time of year, this summer the Bureau of Ocean Energy...
Finally—A U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan

Finally—A U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan

The Earth’s oceans are fragile ecosystems that nevertheless provide essential protein to about 3.3 billion people. We ignore the potential ocean impacts of accelerating climate change at great peril to this major world food supply and to the 6% of the world’s economy represented by its seafood harvest and distribution sector. With so much recent research and concern about the onrushing impacts of climate change on land, its remarkable that so little attention has been paid to these impacts likely to hit our oceans.  This is extremely short-sighted. Fortunately, some of this neglect is now being addressed—at least in the U.S.—by the first-ever U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) released in March 2023. The OCAP includes three broad themes: (a) creating a carbon-neutral future; (b) impl...
The Battle Over Columbia River Salmon

The Battle Over Columbia River Salmon

Over the next several months, the West Coast has a golden opportunity to push for a serious Columbia River salmon recovery plan. This chance to finally get it right comes after decades—and more than $15 billion—spent by the federal government trying to fix a broken system, along with more than 20 years of litigation. After decades of dam building, four final dams—Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite—were built on the Snake River, the Columbia River’s largest tributary, in the 1960s and ‘70s. Before they were constructed, Washington’s Department of Fisheries warned that the Lower Snake River dams would spell trouble for salmon: “The development would remove part of the cost of waterborne shipping from the shipper and place it on the taxpayer, jeopardizing more than...