Few salmon, and now no salmon season?
Today’s item is a little off-topic, but not completely. This isn’t an angler’s blog, but salmon from the Pacific Ocean is a big part of Northern California cuisine and from the looks of it, this year is going to be at least a dud if not a disaster.
Dwindling numbers of fall-run chinook salmon is the problem, and the reason there won’t be much, if any, fresh-caught salmon in many restaurants or at many backyard barbecues this summer. Salmon is one of the healthiest fish to eat and can be found at most restaurants when they’re in season. They’re deliciously versatile for a host of wines, from dry Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays to Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels.
In the Bay Area, king salmon, as they’re also known, begin and end their lives in the Sacramento river and its inland tributaries. Once they leave the rivers they live in the ocean for a couple of years, where they fatten up and provide great sportfishing, along with vital commercial fishing, before returning to the rivers to spawn.
But for the past year or so the salmon have disappeared. No one’s sure exactly why, but they were hard to catch in the ocean last year and haven’t been returning to the rivers at the normal rate. Some worry that a change in climate is influencing the food chain that brings them off the Northern California coast. Others are concerned that the salmon are being overfished. Whatever the reason, the absence of fish returning to spawn will destroy the industry, and there’s a good chance that within the next few days the agencies in charge of overseeing the salmon population will suspend the 2008 season for salmon angling and commercial fishing, and that’s bad news for everyone. There will still be salmon—farm-raised and from other venues—in stores and restaurants. But one of the Bay Area’s staples for summer cuisine—fresh Bodega Bay or San Francisco king salmon—will be off the menu, probably for at least a year, and maybe longer.
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — March 13, 2008 6:54pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — March 13, 2008 7:36pm ET
Rob King — Portland, OR — March 14, 2008 12:07am ET
Steve Shelton — Yuba City, Ca. — March 14, 2008 1:54am ET
Steve Shelton — Yuba City, Ca. — March 14, 2008 2:04am ET
Mark Antonio — Tokyo — March 14, 2008 1:29pm ET
Robert Fukushima — California — March 14, 2008 6:30pm ET
Jon C Martinez — Overland — March 17, 2008 4:09pm ET
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