In Pictures: California sails toward biggest salmon harvest in years
Updated : 2019-08-23 11:08:11
Trolling off the California coast, Sarah Bates leans over the side of her boat and pulls out a long, silvery fish prized by anglers and seafood lovers: wild king salmon. Reeling in a fish "feels good every time," but this year has been surprisingly good, said Bates, a commercial troller based in San Francisco. She and other California fishermen are reporting one of the best salmon fishing seasons in years, thanks to heavy rain and snow that ended the state's historic drought. It's a sharp reversal for chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, an iconic species that helps sustain many Pacific Coast fishing communities. Commercial salmon catches have surpassed official preseason forecasts by about 50 percent, said Kandice Morgenstern, a marine scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Harvests have been particularly strong in Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, but weaker along California's northern coast. "We're really surprised to be seeing this many fish being landed so far this season," Morgenstern said. The salmon rebound comes after three years of extremely low catches that resulted from poor ocean conditions and California's five-year drought, which drained the state's rivers and reservoirs.