California’s Salmon Economy And Environment Might Hinge On New Project

The salmon industry is an important part of the Golden State’s economy. With an annual economic impact of $ 900 million According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, a collapse of the species would not only add further threat to the already fragile environment, but also a blow to the state’s bottom line. With the western droughts the The worst in a millennium, that puts all of this in real danger.

To combat the problem, the state will release nearly 17 million of the anadromous fish (some of which live in freshwater and some in the ocean) into San Francisco Bay. Sending them straight into the bay’s cold waters and allowing them to bypass California’s drought-stricken rivers should maximize their survival rate.

“CDFW is using lessons learned from the last 15 or more years of salmon releases and the most recent drought to maximize the success of the release.” said Jason Julienne, Overseer of the North Central Hatchery. “Moving young salmon to downstream release sites has proven to be one of the best ways to increase marine survival in arid conditions.”

Transporting salmon to the sea is not a new idea; it is from the 1980s. However, this massive operation will move around 20% more salmon around the Central Valley rivers and delta than in typical water years. More than 16.8 million young salmon from four hatcheries in the Central Valley to locations around the San Pablo Bays and San Francisco Bays and Half Moon Bays and Monterey Bays. From mid-April to early June, approximately 146 individual truckloads will travel more than 30,000 miles to get all of the fish out. The salmon is transported by the Feather River, Nimbus, Mokelumne and Merced salmon hatcheries.

The iconic chinook salmon (five species of salmon are found in the Pacific: pink, chum, sockeye salmon, coho, and chinook, while the Atlantic only has one species, the Atlantic salmon) usually hatch upstream and then make their way into the colder ocean waters of adulthood become. After a few years in the sea, they return to their starting point to reproduce.

The salmon are in dire straits and losing the fish would mean much more than just losing cat food and packaged meals at the grocery store. From grizzly bears to orca whales, at least 137 different species rely on the marine nutrients that wild salmon provide.

“In the short term, that gives us hope,” said John McManus, environmentalist and executive director of the Golden State Salmon Association. said CBS. “And we are glad that you move these fish. But it is also a very sad testimony to what is happening to our rivers in the middle of this state. “

Problems with wild salmon are not a new issue. The real problems began over a century ago when dams appeared in the west. When these dams were built, the Central Valley became salmon 80-90% lost their historical spawning habitat. In addition to turning into blockages that prevented the fish from returning to their spawning grounds, they also lengthened the bottom to be traversed and heated the water through which they had to travel, making a more dangerous journey. Unregulated fishing also led to the loss of wild salmon.

During the trucking project to the bay it is estimated that 80% of the salmon who make the trip will survive.

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