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Closure of king salmon fishing season a concern for local businesses, fishermen

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Posted at 6:53 PM, Apr 12, 2023

Whether you consume salmon or fish for it, you won’t be able to enjoy a local catch this season.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council shut down the 2023 recreational and commercial king salmon fishing seasons for most of the West Coast due to near-record low numbers of fish returning to their spawning grounds.

It's a blow to fishermen, restaurants, and consumers.

Morro Bay resident Ilene French says she always looks forward to salmon season.

“I look forward to it. In fact, I was taking a trip up to Oregon to consume some more fish and salmon and evidently, even in Oregon and Washington the season will be late or maybe even closed,” French said.

“It’s definitely going to be a bummer for us, I'll tell you that, because salmon is something that is so popular here at Giovanni's Fish Market,” said market owner Giovanni DeGarimore.

He says prices for salmon will undoubtedly go up due to shipping costs.

"We can expect to see higher prices," DeGarimore said. "The more logistics that are involved, the more expensive it's going to get."

For local fishermen like Brett Cunningham, the fishing ban is cutting into their livelihood.

"I don't have that income," he said, adding that he expects the ban to last for at least a year or more. “What we were told right now is next year's fishing is probably going to be restricted as well.”

The fishing closure is in place from northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border, but some recreational salmon fishing will be allowed off the Oregon coast this fall.