California Fisheries Biologists Present 2022 Ocean Salmon Abundance Forecast

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife held its annual Salmon Information Meeting via webinar on March 2. The public meeting featured the outlook for this year’s commercial ocean salmon fisheries and a review of last year’s salmon fisheries. File photo via CDFW.

At the annual Salmon Information Meeting held virtually on March 2, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of spawning salmon that returned to California rivers in 2021 and shared the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season.

The 2022 ocean abundance projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook, a main salmon stock harvested in California waters, is estimated at 396,500 adult salmon, higher than the 2021 forecasts.

The Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast also came in slightly above the 2021 value, with 200,100 of the adult salmon predicted to be in the ocean this year, a value that remains well below the stock’s historical levels.

During the meeting, recreational anglers and commercial salmon trollers provided comments and voiced concerns to a panel of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives. Stakeholder input is being taken into consideration when developing three season alternatives during the current Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting, which began March 8 and is expected to continue through March 14.

Final season regulations are expected to be adopted at the PFMC’s April 6-13 meeting.

Following several years of poor returns to the Klamath River Basin, Klamath River fall Chinook salmon were declared overfished in 2018 and have yet to achieve a rebuilt status under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan.

The PFMC, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, could decide to take a conservative approach when crafting 2022 ocean salmon seasons to provide additional protective measures to this stock.