PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 24 (UPI) — Oregon wildlife officials say they’re pleased and surprised to see huge numbers of coho salmon returning to an upstream hatchery.
Coho have jammed a tiny creek that feeds into the Sandy River after recent rains — the most salmon seen surging upstream in the area in almost 20 years, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Saturday.
The excess fish will be processed and donated to the Oregon Food Bank at a time when its shelves are being taxed by a 14 percent jump in demand for food statewide as families struggle with a poor economy, the newspaper said.
The big coho return also buttresses Oregon wildlife officials’ estimates that about 700,000 salmon are expected to flow into the Columbia River system this year, at least 200,000 more than last year and the second-highest since 1991.
Still, officials told The Oregonian they don’t believe this year’s big coho numbers are indicative of any longer-term trends in efforts to help salmon recover in the Columbia system.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International