Aquaculture for all

Chinook salmon count down

US - Last month, far fewer Chinook salmon spawned in the lower stretches of the Yuba River, duplicating a three-year trend of declining fish populations across Northern California.

The number of fall run Chinook salmon in the lower Yuba River in September has been the lowest return in four years

The lower Yuba boasts one of the last remaining wild salmon runs in the Central Valley. In September the California Department of Fish and Game counted only 54 fall run Chinook salmon at the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam on the lower Yuba River, compared with 909 during the same period last year, 1,671 two years ago and 3,842 in 2003.

"We are concerned, but as scientists, we must remain objective. We simply don't have enough long-term data to judge this," said James Navicki, an environmental scientist with Fish and Game who studies fish on the lower watershed.

Beyond the Yuba River, in other parts of the Central Valley and the north state, Chinook salmon are returning slower than usual, said Scott Barrow of Fish and Game.

On the Feather River, numbers are one-third of what they usually are this time of year, Barrow said.

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