Fall Salmon Rebound

Doom and gloom over the fate of this year’s fall Chinook salmon run on the Sacramento River may ease now that the number of fish making their way “home” – to the hatchery on the Feather River appears to be strong. 

“It’s an early snapshot of how many fish are coming back and it’s good news ” says Harry Morse spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

 “The number of fish looks good and the number of eggs we are taking are good.” 

Morse explains that last year at this time DFG saw just 3000 to 5000 fish return to the Feather River Hatchery in Oroville. During the same short interval this year the number was around 20,000.

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San Joaquin Delta water users alarmed by salmon report

A state agency’s opinion on what salmon need to survive has water users warning of an economic disaster.

The State Water Resources Control Board has suggested greatly increased flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

That could mean a reduction of more than 40 percent in the amount of water that farms and cities take from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers, one attorney involved in the issue said last week.

Read more: http://www.modbee.com/2010/10/04/1367511/san-joaquin-delta-water-users.html#ixzz11RGBSbz4

State may rescue ailing salmon industry

SAN FRANCISCO — An unabated crash in West Coast salmon numbers prompted a federal department to extend an emergency declaration, potentially providing millions of dollars for out-of-work fishermen and affected businesses.

Chinook salmon once swarmed from the Pacific Ocean — where they were caught by slow-trolling fishermen using lures and baited hooks — through the San Francisco Bay and up delta waterways toward spawning grounds.
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Measure to streamline regulations for salmon restoration on the San Joaquin River headed to the Governor’s desk

From Senator Dave Cogdill’s office:

“Legislation by Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), Senate Bill 1349, which will help farmers, ranchers and other water users adhere to one set of standards by conforming state law with federal law for efforts to restore salmon to the San Joaquin River, is now headed to the Governor’s desk.

The measure originates from a 2006 settlement that ended almost twenty years of litigation regarding salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. Wildlife agencies will begin reintroducing salmon to the river in 2012. However, discrepancies between state and federal law have created a problem for water users complying with the settlement.

“This measure balances the goals of restoring salmon runs to the river without imposing hurdles for water users to comply. I urge the Governor to sign this bill which will also save taxpayers money in the future,” said Senator Cogdill.

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Genetically engineered salmon under FDA consideration

Reporting from Washington —

With a global population pressing against food supplies and vast areas of the ocean swept clean of fish, tiny AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass., says it can help feed the world.

The firm has developed genetically engineered salmon that reach market weight in half the usual time. What’s more, it hopes to avoid the pollution, disease and other problems associated with saltwater fish farms by having its salmon raised in inland facilities.

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve what would be the nation’s first commercial genetically modified food animal.

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State hatcheries complete massive salmon releases

From the California Department of Fish & Game, this press release:

“The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) completed the release of 16.5 million young Sacramento Fall-Run Chinook salmon in northern California on June 15. The majority of the young salmon, called smolts, were placed into acclimation pens in San Pablo Bay prior to release, while others were released in rivers that flow to the bay. Smolts that survive to adulthood will return in two to four years to spawn in Central Valley rivers, boosting the recovery of the species in California waters.

“We hope this year’s above-average water flow and the use of a variety of release sites will improve the overall survival of the smolts and increase the return of adult salmon to their home rivers,” said Neil Manji, DFG Fisheries Branch Chief.

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Fishermen Fear Delta Pump Ruling May Decimate Fall Salmon Run

San Francisco — West Coast fishermen, shut out of fishing for the past two years altogether and granted a 2010 commercial fishery so tiny that most will simply sit it out, fear that a Tuesday night ruling by Fresno-based judge Oliver Wanger could be a serious disaster for the Sacramento River’s fall-run chinook (‘king’) salmon resource.

Sacramento River fall run chinook are the backbone of California’s 150-year-old salmon fishery and a large contributor to Oregon and Washington ocean fisheries as well. Strong runs of Sacramento River fall-run chinooks returned to the Central Valley earlier in this decade – 768,000 adult fish up to 50 pounds each found their way back to Valley streams in 2002.

By 2009 that number had crashed to 39,530 fish, driven down in large part by heavy increases in State Water Project pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

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