A record-low number of chinook salmon returned to rivers in California's Central Valley last year, increasing the likelihood of severe fishing restrictions on salmon fishing again this year, the Pacific Fishery Management Council told the Associated Press yesterday.
Approximately 66,264 king salmon adults returned to the Sacramento River basin to spawn in 2008, the lowest estimate on record, the council reported.
That's down from 90,000 in 2007, which led to an unprecedented shutdown of the California and Oregon king salmon fisheries last year.
The council is expected to announce its forecast next week and will make a final recommendation on fishing restrictions in April.
"Realistically, we were looking at the fact that we wouldn't have a season this year. We're looking at 2010 before we can fish again," Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, told the AP.