Fishermen Fear Delta Pump Ruling May Decimate Fall Salmon Run

San Francisco — West Coast fishermen, shut out of fishing for the past two years altogether and granted a 2010 commercial fishery so tiny that most will simply sit it out, fear that a Tuesday night ruling by Fresno-based judge Oliver Wanger could be a serious disaster for the Sacramento River’s fall-run chinook (‘king’) salmon resource.

Sacramento River fall run chinook are the backbone of California’s 150-year-old salmon fishery and a large contributor to Oregon and Washington ocean fisheries as well. Strong runs of Sacramento River fall-run chinooks returned to the Central Valley earlier in this decade – 768,000 adult fish up to 50 pounds each found their way back to Valley streams in 2002.

By 2009 that number had crashed to 39,530 fish, driven down in large part by heavy increases in State Water Project pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

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