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Oceanographer Predicts Better Salmon Runs Next Year

One of Oregon's leading ocean scientists says there's good news for salmon - but he says it'll be at least a year before it results in more fish in the waters.  Better salmon runs would be a welcome change on the coast, where fishermen are facing tough restrictions.

Bill Peterson is an oceanographer at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.  He says the salmon entering the ocean this spring will find colder water than migrating fish did over the last four years. Peterson says that means stronger runs. How soon depends on the fish.

Peterson:  "The coho that go to sea this spring will come back to the rivers in a year, a year and a half from now, actually. They’ll come back in the autumn of 2009. And those runs ought to be pretty good, if the ocean conditions hold as they are looking they will, right now. With the spring Chinooks, they’ll come back in 2010, at the earliest, and some of them won’t come back until 2011."

Peterson says in the last couple of years, the outlook  for salmon has looked good at this time of year, but then changed. He says that’s not as likely this year, because of how consistent the conditions have been.