Fishing ban considered for Klamath chinook along West Coast

With chinook salmon runs in the Klamath River plummeting, federal regulators are considering an unprecedented ocean-fishing ban on chinook along 700 miles of coast, from northern Oregon to just south of Carmel, Calif. A combination of factors on the Klamath River, including warm, low-flowing water and runoff from farming and timber operations, created conditions that allowed a fish-parasite population to explode a few years ago, killing over 80 percent of returning juvenile chinook in spring 2002 and 2003, say scientists. The Pacific Fishery Management Council will consider options to help the salmon make a comeback during meetings this week in Seattle, with final policy recommendations expected in April. A fishing ban could influence the renewal of federal hydropower licenses for dams on the Klamath River, which are believed to be contributing to parasite-friendly conditions in the river.