Salmon numbers dive lower

Department of Fish and Game grows increasingly concerned over salmon returns

Numbers of fall chinook salmon adults returning to the Sacramento River are lower than scientists originally thought.

Data released recently by the Pacific Fishery Management Council show a further decline in the adult return of chinook salmon that returned to the river in 2009, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.

According to the DFG’s estimates, fewer than 40,000 fall-run chinook adults returned to the river to spawn in 2009. The number is the lowest recorded since scientists began comprehensively monitoring the Central Valley Hatchery in the 1970s, and 2009 marked the third-consecutive year that the salmon return fell far below the council’s objective, which ranges between 122,000 and 180,000.

The findings likely will trigger an “overfishing concern” by the council.