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The Coastside Fishing Club will receive 360,000 young king salmon from the state-run Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville this spring and release them into the ocean after feeding them and allowing them to become accustomed to ocean waters.

“This year's effort aims to increase the number of adult salmon in the ocean fishery, primarily in 2016, by allowing these young fish to bypass dangers such as deadly water project pumps and aquatic predators lurking in the degraded Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” according to Marc Gorelnik of the Half Moon Bay-based non-profit organization. “State and federal water projects, now aggravated by drought, have decimated populations of young salmon seeking their way to the Pacific Ocean.”  

Using donations and volunteer labor from its membership, Coastside Fishing Club purchased, assembled and floated a specially designed floating net pen that is anchored in Pillar Point Harbor.  

They'll be transported in a tanker truck that will release the fish into Coastside Fishing Club's floating net pen. Each fish carries an implanted coded wire tag that will allow identification as these fish are harvested in the ocean or return to the hatchery.

The first of three loads of young salmon arrived at Pillar Point Harbor on May 22 and were released to the ocean by Coastside Fishing Club volunteers late on May 27.

During this time, the young salmon acclimated to salt water and were regularly fed while being protected from predation from birds and other fish.

“While we were preparing for the release, the feeder went off so we all got to see the food thrown the length and width of the pen and the ensuing feeding frenzy,” said Coastside President Dan Wolford. “After that, we pulled the net enclosing the young salmon but they seemed to stay there, happy with their surroundings.”  

The second load of salmon arrived on May 29 and the last load will be received on June 5. As adults in 2016, it is hoped these salmon will be drawn back to waters near Half Moon Bay to be caught by local anglers, both recreational and commercial.

This is the third consecutive year of Coastside Fishing Club's efforts to boost local salmon populations. The benefits of efforts in 2012 should be realized in 2014. “Some of those fish have already been caught in 2013 as two-year-olds, mostly in California waters but some in Oregon and Washington,” said Gorelnik.

Along with the coastal net pen operated by the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project in Santa Cruz, Coastside's salmon releases have should much greater survival than other release strategies for hatchery fish.

“Our two year old fish have a ration of 76 fish per 100,000 that have been caught, compared to 18 per 100,000 with the hatchery salmon acclimated in the San Pablo Bay acclimation pens,” said Gorelnik.

The Feather River Chinook salmon released into the ocean every year by the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project have contributed greatly to the fishery of the region. In fact, many of the fish return as adults to the harbor, allowing children who have never caught a salmon before to catch big, bold Chinooks from shore.

Coastside Halibut And Striper Derby Set For June 21

Coastside will sponsor the OPM Classic halibut and striper derby on June 21, 2014 at Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco. The angler catching the largest fish will win the $1000 grand prize and $2000 in other cash prizes will be awarded.

The event will feature a free raffle, including a six-person charter on the Reel-Lentless, rods and reels, tackle sand gift certificates to local tackle stores.
Anglers who enter by June 15 will also receive a free T-shirt. Free food will be provided by The Grill Crew.

The entry fee is $40.00. Anglers can fish from any marina or launch ramp.
There is free entry for kids 15 and under. A rod and reel will go to the first 50 kids at the weigh.

The deadline to enter is June 20. Information, rules and registration available at

Originally posted to Dan Bacher on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunting and Fishing Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  While these hatchery releases provide salmon (7+ / 0-)

    that otherwise would not be available, there is increasing evidence that the hatchery fish are leading to the demise of native salmon. There are two federal suits, one in Oregon and one in Washington brought by fishing clubs to curb such releases. The gist is that the hatcheries are not in compliance with Environmental protection Act. I'm working on a diary describing these suits. It is an interesting twist to previous thinking about conservation of salmon.

    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:07:25 AM PDT

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm looking forward to your diary on salmon conservation. Write away! :-)

      Social justice is part of the implication of loving thy neighbor. - Frances Perkins

      by paz3 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:29:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tension Between Hatchery and Non-Hatchery Fish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As a conservationist and angler, I would much prefer that we were able to do away with hatcheries altogether. They exist only because of the habitat destroyed to serve the needs of hydropower, corporate agriculture, and thirsty (and oft wasteful) urban populations. I don't know much about the Columbia River system and other Northwest river systems, but I know about California and the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems.

      100% of the habitat of the winter-run Chinook was eliminated by Shasta and Keswick dams. The population has been forced into largely unsuitable habitat and the naturally spawning population is sustained only by the production of a federal hatchery. Without that hatchery, this endangered run would almost certainly be extinct. Without somehow expanding its habitat, the population will likely always be endangered.

      Its a similar story for California's spring- and fall-run Chinook. While hatchery practices could certainly be improved, continuing habitat destruction and water diversions render hatchery practices largely beside the point. The fall-run declined 95% from 2002 to 2009 because low flows left redds high and dry, surviving juveniles were chewed up in water pumps or devoured by predators in unnaturally low, clear and warm waters, and the fish reaching the ocean found poor feed conditions. I haven't seen any evidence that naturally-reared juveniles survived at greater rates.

      California's fall-run Chinook support vibrant commercial and recreational fisheries. Eliminating hatcheries will eliminate these fisheries. Full stop. Absent hatcheries and fisheries, spring- and fall-run fish may maintain tenuous holds in parts of the river system, but they will always be one drought away from extirpation. Small populations of endangered fish may be preferred by some purists.

      A more sensible approach would be to dial back hatcheries and trucking as they become unnecessary through improved habitats and flows, but not until then.

      •  A great summary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "A more sensible approach would be to dial back hatcheries and trucking as they become unnecessary through improved habitats and flows, but not until then."

        That's a great summary of the challenge we face in restoring salmon and steelhead populations in California.

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