Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Calif. Delivers Final Truckload of Juvenile Salmon to San Francisco Bay

The Sacramento Bee
June 18, 2008 - State officials on Tuesday trucked their final load of juvenile salmon from hatcheries to San Francisco Bay, marking the end of an unprecedented effort to help a dwindling species.

In total, the Department of Fish and Game hauled 20.2 million fall-run chinook salmon smolts from three hatcheries on the American, Feather and Mokelumne rivers. The fish were deposited into net pens on shore, then towed by barge out into San Pablo Bay for release.

The state has trucked salmon for years, but never on this scale, said spokesman Harry Morse, nor has anyone else.

"I called both Washington and Oregon and asked them if anybody had transported a number this massive, and both those agencies said no," Morse said.

Fish and Game decided to truck nearly all its hatchery chinook this year to ensure more fish survive to spawn again.

Trucking saves the fish from exposure to predators and poor water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But a debate continues on whether this disrupts the fishes' ability to find their way back to their home rivers.

The Central Valley fall chinook this year is predicted to reach its lowest level in more than three decades, and salmon fishing has been closed as a result.


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