Posted on March 19 2008
“After a record high run of 804,000 in 2002, only 90,000 adult chinook, or king salmon, returned to the Sacramento River and its tributaries to spawn last year. That alarming drop-off means the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council has to halt salmon fishing along the California and Oregon coasts this year. The next step will be more complicated: working with the fishing industry, environmentalists, farmers and water control agencies to restore the teeming salmon runs that have been a California hallmark for centuries.” California’s Mercury News editors lay the truth bare.
Their argument is supported by Monday’s New York Times coverage, in which Felicity Barringer describes the various theories for the fish’s population collapse in detail: “The fishermen think the fish were left susceptible to disease, or to predators, or to being sucked into diversion pumps and left to die in irrigation canals. But federal and state fishery managers and biologists point to the highly unusual ocean conditions in 2005, which may have left the fingerling salmon with little or none of the rich nourishment provided by the normal upwelling currents near the shore.”