NW sockeye run higher than 10-year average

Most of the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River Basin continues to see good returns of adult salmon as they head back to their native streams or their hatcheries to spawn.

This week brings news that total 2008 chinook returns counted at Bonneville Dam so far stand at over 265,000, surpassing for the first time this year the 10-year average.

Sockeye salmon returns, now at the end of their run, are close to 213,600, almost four times higher than the 10-year average for this species, according to biologists.

Officials say it is likely that the good numbers of juveniles entering the ocean in the past two years have benefited from favorable ocean conditions.

Government biologists believe that sockeye also benefited from substantial increases in the number of hatchery fish released in 2006 and 2007.