Too few pink salmon prompts Skagit tribe to close fishery

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe has decided to close its pink salmon fishery because fewer pinks have returned to the Skagit River than anticipated.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports the tribe expected to see about 500,000 pinks return to the Skagit River to spawn but this week saw dismal catches.

Tribal natural resources director Scott Schuyler says they were seeing just 10 percent of what they expected. So tribal fishermen will keep their nets out of the water because it doesn't want to deplete the population.

Schuyler says he's not sure why the returns have been so low. It could be that flooding in 2013 may have hurt egg survival that year, cutting into this year's return.

Pink salmon migrate every odd year, and state officials have estimated some 6.8 million pink salmon returning to Puget Sound rivers in 2015.