The following press release is courtesy of the Golden Gate Salmon Association:
Petaluma, CA. – The Golden Gate Salmon Association is pleased to announce 250,000 baby salmon are scheduled to be released in Bodega Bay in late May. The release will be part of an experiment designed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn how well the fish survive, where they go in the ocean, where they return to as adults, and how big a contribution they ultimately make to the ocean and inland salmon fishery. This is the first time baby hatchery salmon have ever been released in Bodega Bay.
“GGSA worked tirelessly to win support for this project which we first identified over 12 months ago”, said GGSA founder Victor Gonella. “It will not only yield valuable biologic information, but also a harvest of hope for a strapped community.”
After being transported from the hatchery where they were born and reared for several months, the fish will be offloaded from tanker trucks into a floating net pen at Spud Point Marina. They’ll be held up to a few hours to allow them to reorient from the truck ride and then released to the ocean on the outgoing tide. Survival of fish released in this way is expected to be much higher than for similar fish released at Central Valley hatcheries.
GGSA couldn’t have put the pieces together to make this happen without generous assistance from a number of groups and individuals. Among these, the Commercial Salmon Stamp Committee including Bodega Bay fisherman Stan Carpenter.
“We hope this leads to more fish for everyone in the future,” said Carpenter.
Most of all GGSA is grateful for the continued cooperation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) who overcame multiple hurdles and months of work to finally get this project done.
“The Department appreciates the issues facing the salmon fishery and local communities as well as native salmon stocks in low abundance,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “This collaborative study is intended to shed light on how enhancement salmon may interact with native river stocks.”
The Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Festival offered financial support to offset the cost associated with the project. Spud Pt. Marina harbor master Noah Wagner and Sonoma Country Regional Parks have generously offered use of their dock and crane to unload the fish.