Feb 24, 2010 11:24 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Strict salmon fishing restrictions are likely again this year after federal regulators say they recorded a new record low of chinook salmon returning to rivers in California's Central Valley last year.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's newest report posted online Thursday reported that 39,530 natural and hatchery chinook or "king" salmon adults were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River basin in 2009 to spawn, the lowest estimate on record.
The numbers help the council determine if it should recommend limits on commercial and recreational fishing.
The 2009 numbers are down from 66,264 counted in 2008, and showed an even greater drop from 90,000 counted in 2007.
The Sacramento River king salmon run ultimately provides much of the salmon caught off the Oregon and California coasts.
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