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Grim year for Sacramento River chinook

February 18, 2009 |  9:12 pm

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The bad news continues for California's chinook salmon.

The California Department of Fish and Game reported today that last year's fall run of Sacramento River chinook was the lowest since monitoring began in the 1970s. An estimated 66,200 adults returned to their spawning grounds.

An additional 31,000 swam up the Klamath and Trinity rivers, but that number too was low.

In 2008, the ocean salmon fishing season was closed for the first time in California history to protect the Sacramento River fall stocks, which underpin commercial and recreational salmon fishing off the California and Oregon coasts.

-- Bettina Boxall    

Photo: A chinook jumps against a grate in a California fish hatchery. Credit: Associated Press

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