"SAN DIEGO — As drought dried up rivers that carry California’s newly hatched Chinook salmon to the ocean, state officials in recent years resorted to loading up the fish by the millions onto trucks and barges to take them to the Pacific.
The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges. River water temperatures rose with warm weather, and a Trump-era rollback of federal protections for waterways allowed more water to be diverted to farms. Climate change, meanwhile, threatens food sources for the young Chinook maturing in the Pacific.
Now, ocean salmon fishing season is set to be prohibited this year off California and much of Oregon for the second time in 15 years after adult fall-run Chinook, often known as king salmon, returned to California’s rivers in near record-low numbers in 2022.
“There will be no wild-caught California salmon to eat unless someone has still got some vacuum sealed last year in their freezer,” said John McManus of the Golden State Salmon Association."