A federal regulatory group has voted to officially close king salmon fishing season along much of the West Coast after near-record low numbers of the fish returned to California’s rivers in 2022. The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved the closure of the 2023 season Thursday for all commercial and most recreational fishing of the fish also known as chinook along the coast from Cape Falcon in northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border. Limited recreational salmon fishing will be allowed off southern Oregon in the fall. Biologists say the chinook salmon population has declined dramatically after years of drought. Many in the fishing industry say Trump-era rules that allowed more water to be diverted from the Sacramento River Basin to agriculture caused even more harm. The closure applies to adult fall-run chinook and deals a blow to the Pacific Northwest’s salmon fishing industry. Much of the salmon caught off Oregon originate in California’s Klamath and Sacramento rivers. After hatching in freshwater, they spend three years on average maturing in the Pacific, where many are snagged by commercial fishermen, before migrating back to their spawning grounds. After laying eggs, they die. Experts fear native California salmon are in a spiral toward extinction. Already California’s spring-run chinook are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, while winter-run chinook are endangered along with the Central California Coast coho salmon, which has been off-limits to California commercial fishers since the 1990s.