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.

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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….

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