Experimental Salmon Release Scheduled for Bodega Bay


by John McManus, Executive Director, Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA)


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.”


Victor Gonella, Founder and Treasurer of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), shows off a huge Chinook salmon that he landed while trolling off Bodega Bay.
Victor Gonella, Founder and Treasurer of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), shows off a huge Chinook salmon that he landed while trolling off Bodega Bay.

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.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmonassociation.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon in a normal season. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Ocean Salmon Fisheries

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual Ocean Salmon Information Meeting. A review of last year’s ocean salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, in addition to the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa (95403).

Anglers are encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.

Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative process involving the PFMC, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Public input will help California representatives develop a range of recommended season alternatives during the PFMC March 7-13 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. Final adoption of ocean salmon season regulations will occur during the PFMC April 6-11 meeting in Sacramento.

The 2017 Ocean Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage.

The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available.