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Delta fish numbers continue to languish

Smelt hovering near extinction, some biologists say

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Posted: Saturday, January 1, 2011 6:44 am

Delta fish continued to languish at very depressed levels in 2010, according to the latest numbers from the California Department of Fish and Game. A key annual survey performed each fall showed the Delta smelt population continues to hover at a level some biologists believe is near extinction, while year-old striped bass, a popular sport fish, dropped to a record low.

Not all the news for Delta fish is bad though. Salmon returns this year have been the strongest in a couple of years, leading to optimism that anglers may get more than the paltry eight-day fishing season commercial fishermen got in off California in 2010 — a season that followed two years of unprecedented closures.

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