THE RETURN OF CHINOOK salmon has set a record at Bonneville dam on the Columbia river in the US.

The number of returning adult fall chinook at the dam has topped 474,000 – the largest number since counting began in 1938, according to officials for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

Combined with chinook returns from the spring and summer, the 2002 fall run provided the highest returns on record.

Officials with the Federal Caucus – the nine regional federal agencies that are responsible for natural-resource protection and salmon recovery in the Columbia river basin – said focused regional efforts, led by federal, state, tribal and local agencies and groups, are contributing to the rising numbers of returning spring, summer and fall chinook.