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California Fish and Wildlife releases one million Chinook salmon smolts

June 27, 2024  By Hatchery International staff


CDFW has released about 1 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts. (Photo: CDFW)

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released about one 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 in San Francisco and San Pablo bays this spring and summer, a press release from the CDFW stated.

CDFW was joined by faculty, staff and students from the California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) to release the smolts on June 10.

“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.”  

The smolts were hatched at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville and were released well after sunset to minimize predation by birds. Twenty-five per cent 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. 

“This project lends perfectly to our oceanography curriculum and our upcoming fisheries course. We are honoured to be able to support the work of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through this partnership,” said Mike Dumont, Cal Maritime’s interim president.    


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