Speakers announced for Salmon disaster hearing

Experts will testify this Wednesday from 1 to 5 pm – watch live at www.senate.ca.gov

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sacramento, CA – California’s iconic salmon fishery, and the thousands of families who depend on the fishery for their livelihood, are in crisis. There has been an unprecedented collapse in California’s salmon population, tribal allocations are at an all-time low, and there’s a budget shortfall fix that the CA Fish and Wildlife Dept is advancing which will devastate an already struggling fishing fleet.

All of this and more will be discussed during a Senate and Assembly joint committee hearing, “Where Have All the Salmon Gone?” this Wednesday, May 24 at the State Capitol. North Coast Senator Mike McGuire, Chair of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, will lead the hearing.

“The 2017 salmon season is anticipated to be one of the worst on record including predictions of the lowest return of Klamath River salmon in history. This collapse has had disastrous impacts on our fisheries, our commercial and recreational fishing industries and on tribes, whose commercial fisheries will be closed and subsistence and ceremonial fishing severely curtailed,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “At this hearing, we will focus on the impact of the drought, poor ocean conditions and diseases that have decimated the California salmon population.”

Speaking at Wednesday’s hearing are:

  • Doug Obegi – Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • S. Craig Tucker, Ph.D. – Natural Resources Policy Advocate, Karuk Tribe
  • Dave Hillemeier - Fisheries Director, Yurok Tribe
  • John McManus – Executive Director, Golden Gate Salmon Association
  • Russell Perry, Ph.D. – Research Fisheries Biologist; Western Fisheries Research Center,United States Geological Survey 
  • Nathan Mantua, Ph.D. – Landscape Ecology Team Leader; Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA
  • Michael O’Farrell, Ph.D. – Research Fish Biologist; Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA 
  • Kevin Shaffer – Chief; Fisheries Branch, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Marci Yaremko – California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Director’s Designee, Pacific Fishery Management Council
  • Thomas P. O’Rourke, Sr. – Chairman, Yurok Tribe
  • Dave Bitts – President, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
  • Roger Thomas – President, Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association
  • Leaf G. Hillman – Director; Natural Resources, Karuk Tribe
  • Marc Gorelnik – At-Large Member, Pacific Fishery Management Council
  • John Carlon – President, River Partners
  • Kevin Shaffer – Chief; Fisheries Branch, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Noah Oppenheim – Executive Director, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
  • David Goldenberg – Chief Executive Officer, California Salmon Council

In addition to the disastrous seasons for crab, salmon, urchins and sardines, which are the result of California’s historic drought and poor ocean conditions the last few years, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recently proposed an excessive increase in commercial fish landing taxes to augment the department’s budget – a topic that will be raised at Wednesday’s fisheries hearing.

“Balancing a $20 million Fish and Wildlife budget shortfall on the shoulders of California’s struggling commercial fishing industry – with landing tax increases exceeding 10,000 percent in some fisheries – is unconscionable and we will fight this proposal. Frankly, it’s disturbing that California Fish and Wildlife Administration – after all of the feedback they have received from the fleet who are losing their boats, homes and struggling to make ends meet – is continuing to ram this damaging proposal through.”

The Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture hearing will be held Wednesday, May 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. in Room 2040 of the State Capitol building and will be livestreamed at www.senate.ca.gov.

More information and background on the hearing can be found here.