Chinook Salmon

chinook tinyNine populations of chinook salmon are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as either threatened or endangered. In 2008 and 2009, commercial fisheries in California were closed due to the extremely low numbers of chinook salmon. The decrease in population is being blamed on the collapse of the Sacramento River run, one of the biggest south of the Columbia River. On the North Coast, chinook runs in the Klamath River and other regional waterways have decreased substantially from historic levels. In 2002, as many as 70,000 fall run chinook died on the Klamath as the Bush Administration diverted water to irrigate large scale agriculture in Northern California. Salmon are immensely important spiritually and culturally to American Indian populations in Northern California. With salmon facing extinction, these tribes are similarly facing an extinction of their culture and way of life that is tied so intimately to the salmon.