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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California (Illegally?) Weakens State Law Protections for Endangered Salmon

Doug Obegi’s Blog

As the Sacramento Bee reported today, the California Department of Fish and Game yesterday issued a determination under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) to allow the State Water Project to kill more threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.  The request came from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on May 24th, even before DWR obtained a federal court injunction against Endangered Species Act protections for these fish through June 15, 2010.  (That’s right – for those who were unaware, the State of California, through DWR, has joined Westlands Water District as plaintiffs suing to overturn environmental protections for salmon and steelhead in California.)

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DFG Releases Three Million Juvenile Salmon Near Mouth Of American

The release of juvenile salmon from Nimbus Fish Hatchery occurs at a time when Central Valley salmon are in their greatest crisis ever, due to a variety of factors led by increased water exports out of the California Delta in recent years. Only 39,530 adult fall chinook salmon returned to the Sacramento River and its tributaries in 2009, the lowest run on record, spurring the closure of ocean recreational and commercial fishing in 2008 and 2009.

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Salmon release changed to American River to prevent ’straying’

For most fall-run chinook salmon in Central Valley rivers, youth is more akin to a factory assembly line than some aquatic nirvana.

Life begins in the concrete tanks of a hatchery on a four-month diet of manufactured food pellets. Teenage independence comes in the spring, with a tanker truck ride to Vallejo and a trip through a giant hose into San Pablo Bay.

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Thriving runs of salmon? They do exist…

As we all know, California’s salmon runs and the fishing industry that depends on them have been hit hard the past few years. A number of factors have contributed to the significant decline of this iconic fish and as a result we are facing the third straight year of a limited, and at times, closed fishing season which has had significant economic impacts on many communities. But in the midst of this distressing situation in California, it’s always nice to find a bright light somewhere. And as I recently found out, this bright light isn’t too far away.

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Opinion: Water mismanagement is killing off our salmon fisheries

By Peter Grenell
Special to the Mercury News
Posted: 04/18/2010 08:00:00 PM PDT

For West Coast harbors, salmon mean business. The obverse is also a true — a lack of salmon means a lack of business.

For the past two years, there has been no salmon fishing due to greatly reduced stocks. Even if there is a token season this year, it will do little or nothing to revive the fortunes of the commercial fleet and the myriad businesses that depend indirectly on salmon, such as boat and tackle retailers, fuel purveyors, charter operators, restaurants and motels.

The absence of salmon also affects our harbor district and other harbor administrations, which collected significant revenues from salmon-related businesses when the fishery was flourishing.

More from the Mercury News

Salmon fishing will return to West Coast

Fishery council votes for an abbreviated season for the Sacramento Delta chinook.

The West Coast will have a salmon fishing season for the first time in two years, but it will be a far cry from the days when abundant chinook catches drove a multimillion-dollar industry in the region.

More from the L.A. Times….