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Addressing New Halibut Regulations and Salmon Fishery Closure in California

Hello to my fellow anglers of the Bay Area Sportfishers Club (BASC),

If you're reading this, it means you share the passion for reeling in the big one while enjoying the stunning scenery of our California waters. However, our beloved pastime has faced some challenging swells lately, changes that require our attention and understanding.Halibut Regulations.

On May 17, 2023, the California Fish and Game Commission enacted some significant measures. These waves of change will momentarily shift our fishing landscape, but we are fishermen—we adapt, we persevere, and most importantly, we respect the waters that offer us so much.

In the face of severe conditions, the Commission has enforced a full closure of the recreational salmon fishing season in the Klamath River Basin and Central Valley rivers. Additionally, our favorite spots on the Smith River, Eel River, and the summer season in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers are now also off-limits for salmon fishing. But remember, these are temporary measures designed to protect the fish we love to chase.

The decision acknowledges the historical and current usage of these waters by several federally recognized tribes. These communities will continue fishing under existing inland sport fishing regulations, with the changes expected to roll in no later than July 1, 2023.

As you may already know, our Chinook salmon are in trouble. Their numbers have dropped to historic lows, necessitating the closure of both commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries off our coast. As a result, our state will now adhere to federal guidelines on ocean salmon sport fishing regulations unless otherwise decided by the Commission.

Recognizing the potential tide of economic hardship that these closures could bring, our Governor Gavin Newsom has stepped up. He has requested a Federal Fishery Disaster Declaration, which, if granted, would initiate a process to provide financial relief to the businesses and fishing communities that we are a part of.

As Charlton H. Bonham, the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, rightly pointed out, "The state is committed to ensuring long-term survival of our salmon runs and supporting our struggling fishing communities." Tough times call for tough measures. We will weather this storm together, and hopefully, soon, we'll find more salmon at the end of our lines than ever before.

In an additional measure to protect our resources, the Commission decided to reduce the daily bag and possession limit for California halibut from three to two for waters north of Point Sur, Monterey County, effective June 1, 2023. The Pacific halibut fishery remains unaffected.

Though these changes may put a temporary damper on our plans, we must remember our shared commitment to the health of our waterways. We are not just fishermen; we are stewards of these incredible resources. It is our responsibility to ensure that the thrill of fishing we have enjoyed is preserved and passed on to future generations.

We, the BASC, appreciate your understanding and adaptability during these times. Remember, we're more than a club; we're a community. Let's band together, adapt our strategies, share our knowledge, and make the most out of these new rules. Above all, let's continue to enjoy what we love doing—fishing responsibly.

Tight lines and calm seas, my friends.


Frankie - BASC Blogger, Website Director.

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