Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace

Posted on March 18, 2008  Comments (3)

Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace

The Chinook salmon that swim upstream to spawn in the fall, the most robust run in the Sacramento River, have disappeared. The almost complete collapse of the richest and most dependable source of Chinook salmon south of Alaska left gloomy fisheries experts struggling for reliable explanations – and coming up dry.

Whatever the cause, there was widespread agreement among those attending a five-day meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council here last week that the regional $150 million fishery, which usually opens for the four-month season on May 1, is almost certain to remain closed this year from northern Oregon to the Mexican border.

So what happened? As Dave Bitts, a fisherman based in Eureka in Northern California, sees it, the variables are simple. “To survive, there are two things a salmon needs,” he said. “To eat. And not to be eaten.”

Fragmentary evidence about salmon mortality in the Sacramento River in recent years, as well as more robust but still inconclusive data about ocean conditions in 2005, indicates that the fall Chinook smolts, or baby fish, of 2005 may have lost out on both counts. But biologists, fishermen and fishery managers all emphasize that no one yet knows anything for sure.

Related: Fishless FutureDead Zones in the Ocean

3 Responses to “Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace”

  1. Tom Barr
    March 19th, 2008 @ 12:23 am

    It’s nice to see the efforts to determine the cause of the absence of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River. Too often today, blame assessment is the first priority and resolving a problem is secondary. I would expect a full recovery, with or without human intervention.

  2. Fark Rowsey
    June 30th, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    it’s sad….something wrong must be happened in the sea….perhaps these salmons get lost or poisoned in the way.

    It’s time to do an extensive on Chinook Salmon from the remaining salmons….but the narrow genetic pools will make it vulnerable to diseases

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » European Eels in Crisis After 95% Decline in Last 25 years
    May 5th, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    […] Fishless Future – South Pacific to Stop Bottom-trawling – North American Fish Threatened – Chinook Salmon Vanish Without a Trace The eel remains one of the world’s most mysterious creatures. It is generally accepted that […]

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