Salmon return, but not for good?

New study warns of salmon bust to follow this year’s boom

A decade-long high of 800,000 salmon are expected to run up the Sacramento River this year, compared to a low of 100,000 several years ago.

But a $2 million California Hatchery Review Project study compiled by a panel of 11 fishery experts over a period of two years warned California’s boom-and-bust cycle is likely to repeat itself, according to The Sacramento Bee.

As 90 percent of the returning salmon are hatched in one of eight hatcheries along the Sacramento, Trinity and Klamath rivers, interbreeding has reduced the salmon’s ability to survive environmental disruptions. The authors suggested discontinuing the practice of trucking young fish to San Francisco Bay, which improves their chances of survival by avoiding the predators and pollution in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but ends up weakening their instincts to return to their birthplace to spawn.

California’s Department of Fish and Game may begin adopting some of the report’s recommendations this fall.