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Bay Area Salmon Fishermen Expect Big Catches This Spring

'Plentiful' season predicted by Golden Gate Salmon Association officials.

Bay Area salmon fishermen are prepping for what's set to be a plentiful salmon season this spring, according Golden Gate Salmon Association officials.

Using data from last year's salmon returns, fishery experts have determined that more than 819,000 adult Sacramento River fall run Chinook salmon can now be found in coastal ocean waters.

"Some of the best salmon in the world does not come from Alaska, but right here in the waters outside of the Golden Gate," GGSA president Victor Gonella said Wednesday.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council announced Wednesday predictions for full or nearly full salmon seasons for both recreational and commercial fishermen.

The sport salmon fishing season is expected to start April 7, and the commercial season on May 1.

"Not only will there be more fish out there -- the fish will be larger, which is extremely good for commercial fishermen," Gonella said.

That outlook is especially rosy compared to recent years, including a partial season in 2010, and a complete shutdown of Bay Area ocean salmon fishing in 2008 and 2009, he said.

"We've come a long way to get here, and we're going to have some good fishing this year thanks to a combination of better water management and a little help from Mother Nature," Gonella said in a statement.

The GGSA credits tighter state and federal controls over Delta pumps for the hike in the local salmon population.

The result will be more money for fishermen and businesses throughout the Bay Area, according to Gonella and GGSA director Roger Thomas.

"Healthy salmon runs equate to more jobs, pure and simple," Thomas said in a statement. "The more fish we have, the more money is spent by people trying to catch them or in the commercial fishing sector, all of which is great for our economy."

Gonella predicted that the fruitful fishing season would account for about 1,000 jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for Bay Area communities this spring.

He said the local salmon association will have to work hard to overcome this year's drought conditions to help ensure equally abundant salmon seasons in the future.

- Bay City News

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