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Salmon Numbers Have Plummeted
by Tommy Allen, click here for bio
Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: March 10, 2017
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Recently a new federal report is suggesting that California and Steller sea lions took a bigger bite out of last year’s salmon run than in any previous year. 2015 saw a bigger salmon run, with more than 239,000 Chinook and steelhead migrating past Bonneville Dam. That year, the total number of salmon that sea lions ate was the largest ever recorded. The Army Corps of Engineers recorded more than 260 sea lions eating more than 10,000 fish from January to June 2015.
A year after one of the largest runs in recent Columbia River history, the numbers of migrating salmon fell. 2015 recorded only about 154,000 of the migrating fish, just below the 15-year average at the river’s westernmost dam.
The 2016 salmon run was far smaller, but the sea lions’ appetite for salmon didn’t shrink much. They still ate more than 9,500 fish, nearly 6 percent of the run. That’s the largest share of the run eaten by the large marine mammals since Army Corps scientists started watching 15 years ago.
Some anglers blame the sea lions but Management Biologist Daniel Teske said “ the problem is in the ocean, not the rivers where kings spawn and hatch.”
From Alaska to the California coast it sounds like salmon numbers have plummeted
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