1 Million Chinook Smolts Released Into San Pablo Bay

The following is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

CDFW photo

CDFW Releases 1 Million Chinook Salmon into San Pablo Bay from Cal Maritime Campus

As the sun set over the San Pablo Bay June 10, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), joined by faculty, staff and students from the California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime), released approximately 1 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts from the Cal Maritime campus in Vallejo. 

It was the first release of Chinook salmon from this location in almost four decades and among the final releases of hatchery fall-run Chinook salmon taking place in San Francisco and San Pablo bays this spring and summer. 

“Expanding our partnerships with organizations like the California State University Maritime Academy is critical in ensuring fall-run Chinook salmon populations continue to rebuild from the recent drought years and other stressors such as thiamine deficiency,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Jason Julienne. “Our hope is for these fish to contribute to harvest and inland spawning returns over the next several years.”? 

CDFW has increased fall-run Chinook salmon production at its four Central Valley anadromous fish hatcheries in 2024. The increase in hatchery production aims to compensate for poor environmental conditions in recent years that have contributed to low salmon stocks and the closure of recreational and commercial salmon fishing seasons. In 2023 CDFW hatcheries raised and released just over 24 million fall-run Chinook salmon. In 2024 that number increased to almost 28 million fish. 

Salmon smolts released from the Cal Maritime campus were hatched at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville. The young salmon were released well after sunset to minimize predation by birds. Twenty-five percent of the smolts carry coded-wire tags and their adipose fins are clipped to identify them as being of hatchery origin. The coded-wire tags will help CDFW scientists and hatchery managers evaluate the success of the release. 

Cal Maritime is a specialized campus belonging to the California State University system that focuses on degrees promoting workforce development for ocean-facing careers. 

“At Cal Maritime, we offer an exciting array of degree programs that engage the largest estuary on the West Coast,” stated Cal Maritime Interim President Mike Dumont. “This project lends perfectly to our oceanography curriculum and our upcoming fisheries course. We are honored to be able to support the work of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through this partnership.”???