California fish and wildlife managers are giving new protections to two fish species that play a crucial ecological role in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to list the longfin smelt as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act. Commissioners also voted to classify the longfin's cousin, the tiny delta smelt, as an endangered species.

In recent years, court decisions aimed at protecting the delta smelt have restricted water deliveries from the delta, a freshwater estuary where both fish live. Federal scientists say the delta smelt are on the brink of extinction.

The state Department of Fish and Game did not immediately return a call for comment.

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