DFG released 20.2 million salmon in San Pablo Bay
August 27, 2008
According to the Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game (DFG), it set a record with 20.2 million Salmon raised, trucked, acclimated and released into San Pablo Bay.
DFG completed a record-breaking year by placing 20.2 million young salmon in acclimation pens for release. The number released is the most ever by any state agency on the West Coast for a single stock of salmon in one year. The young salmon were released this spring into San Pablo Bay and are expected to return to the Sacramento river system in two to four years.
On June 17, the last tanker load of 250,000 tiny Fall Run Central Valley Chinook salmon Ð called smolts Ð were released into the Foundation’s acclimation pens in San Pablo Bay and towed out into the bay and released in the out-going tide.
DFG’s increased effort is in response to the collapse of the Fall Run of Central Valley Chinook salmon stocks. The collapse resulted in the unprecedented closure of all commercial and recreational ocean salmon seasons and the closure of most river salmon seasons this year.
Biologist Kari Burr, Project Manager for The Fishery Foundation of California, said, “An exceptional coordination effort combined with improved net pen design enabled us to successfully receive 100 percent of the fish in acclimation pens this season. We hope for excellent survival rates this year.”
The salmon smolts were raised in hatcheries managed by DFG on major rivers in the Central Valley. of California. The hatcheries were constructed to replace the loss of salmon due to dams. Key hatcheries rearing the salmon smolts were the Nimbus Salmon Hatchery on the American River, the Mokelumne River Hatchery and the Feather River Hatchery.
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“Rearing and moving fish is expensive and intensive,” said Bob Burks, Nimbus Salmon Hatchery Manager in Rancho Cordova. “Gas costs alone nearly doubled. We rent tanker trucks at $500 a week and filling those big gas tanks cost over $500 each. It costs $1,250 a week just for pallets of ice to cool the waters inside the transport tanks when the fish are transported from Nimbus.”
The careful planning and coordination between the hatcheries, The Fishery Foundation of California and the utilization of two release sites combined to make this year’s releases successful. In previous years only one site was used for release of 8-12 million smolts. The addition of a second site made additional releases possible on different tides and decreased potential losses to predatory fish and birds.
For information, call Harry Morse, DFG Office of Communications, (916) 322-8962 or Neil Manji, Fisheries Branch Chief, (916) 327-8840.
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