Monday October 24, 2022

The Mendocino Voice

Dispatches on the state of California’s fisheries this year have brought “a mix of some glimmers of better news, while still struggling with difficult issues,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Chuck Bonham summarized at the 49th Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum on Wednesday afternoon. 

The forum was moderated by State Senator Mike McGuire as part of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to a detailed report from Bonham, the afternoon featured panels on drought and salmon, the dungeness crab season, the state of California’s kelp forests, and aquaculture — as well as a brief public comment period. 

“A healthy ocean means a healthy fleet,” McGuire said during the discussion on the upcoming dungeness crab season. Following the recent passage of a $54 billion climate package, the effect of climate change on California’s marine environments colored every conversation and presentation, with input coming from commercial fishermen, professors, scientists working at state agencies, tribal leaders, nonprofit leaders, fisheries organizations, and others. 

In the words of George Bradshaw, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the health of California waters, and so its fisheries, has a “direct effect to the local communities and the local economies.”

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