The Fall-Run Chinook Salmon in the Sacramento River is known as the richest fishery south of Alaska. Today, that fat supply of the most prized wild salmon is disappearing in records numbers. So much so that the California Department of Fish and Game closed the 2008 sport and commercial salmon season in order to protect the remaining fish. The long term solution will involve a variety of experts, agencies and organizations. We’ll meet Harry Morse of the California Department of Fish and Game who will show us just one of the projects underway involving tagged salmon and trucking them to the ocean. The hope is that tracking the fish will lead to some clues to unravel the mystery.
While the myriad of experts, agencies and organizations go to work to solve the mystery, the people whose livelihoods depend on salmon are paying the heaviest price of all. Salmon accounts for 90% of their yearly income. Local communities involved in the fishery are missing out on a combined $61 million bucks in revenue, $255 million lost by the California economy and 2,263 jobs gone in the state. We’ll meet commercial fishermen, including Mike Hudson, who will describe the devastating impact as fellow-fishermen are losing their homes and boats. And the impact will be felt by consumers also as the situation could push salmon to $30 a pound.
Like Morse, commercial fisherman, Brand Little feels strongly that public awareness has helped make the plight of the salmon fishery a priority. And as such, expect a strong healthy fishery to return within 4 years. We’ll catch up with Little as he forges ahead, making a living from fish in a new way by delivering catches so fresh that it’s often out of the ocean and to your table in less than a day. Little is also helping his fellow anglers at the same time.