Fish Population Still Unstable

Salmon-fishing industry is far from secure.

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, May 3, 2011  |  Updated 4:01 PM PDT
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Fish Population Still Unstable

Commercial salmon fishing season opened with a whimper, with a meager haul that could translate into higher prices in restaurants and supermarkets.

Although the fish population is at a three-year high, fishermen are still having trouble. Their equipment has deteriorated over the last few years, with bans on fishing cutting into their income. Fuel prices are also deterring large fishing expeditions, according to the Chron.

For now, the fishermen who are venturing out have reported smaller than normal fish and an absence of schools in the usual places.

Meanwhile, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has salmon in its watch list, which means biologists are still worried about the population's recovery. The recent population increase must be sustained for several years before observers can feel more secure about the ocean's health.

In an attempt to maintain sustainable levels of fishing, species that are on the watch list have inflated prices.

In previous years, the salmon shortages have cost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs -- but that's nothing compared to what would happen if the fish go extinct.

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