River temperatures and projected sockeye returns down in B.C.

KAMLOOPS - The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is relieved to see water temperatures in the Fraser River system slowly dropping from summertime highs that could have proved lethal to returning salmon.

Area director Stu Cartwright says temperatures are now around 15 or 16 degrees, an acceptable range crucial to the health of 1.5-million sockeye due to reach spawning grounds in B.C. over the coming weeks.

But despite the good news about cooler river temperatures, Cartwright says there is still concern about the total number of returning fish.

He says projected sockeye returns are considerably lower than biologists prefer.

However, the department believes anticipated returns of chinook salmon are stronger.

Cartwright also praises B.C. residents who continue to voluntarily cut water consumption, noting water flow in the Fraser River system remains below normal, increasing pressure on returning salmon.

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