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October 05, 2015    Headlines

Marin Coast Salmon
Rockfish Munching at the Islands

Salmon fishing remains very good up the Marin coastline considering this is October. After a bit of swell and high winds on Saturday conditions calmed on Sunday.  Two boats out of Sausalito scoring 30 salmon to 21 pounds for 35 anglers trolling from Duxbury to Rocky Point on Sunday 10-4. 
The rockfish action was limited by the big swell along the coast, but Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was able to put in limits on Saturday along with a few ling cod. He said, “The grade of fish along the Marin coast was small, so we headed south on Sunday, The lings up the Marin coastline must have bit better on Sunday as the California Dawn put in 30 lings.”
The Sea Wolf out of Emeryville slogged out to the Islands in the swell on Saturday, and they were rewarded for their extra effort with in 26 limits of rockfish and 38 lings to 9 pounds. Rockfishing should only improve with the swell backing off.
The Salty Lady on Monday 10-5 reported even better weather and action. Captain Jared was at the helm and reported 8 limits to 28 pounds with a solid 15 plus pound average. The Salty Lady out of Sausalito has open load salmon trips this week on Wednesday and Friday.

Party and six pack boats continue to see steady action along the Marin coast. On Thursday 10-1 Emeryville Sportfishing had two boats out. On their salmon trip they had 8 salmon for 12 anglers with fish to 22 pounds. They had one boat fishing at the Island who reported 11 limits of rockfish and 11 limits of lings adding 40 sandabs and one barracuda.

On Wednesday 9-30 second captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady reported great action., They had their regular "Wednesday six man charter" on board. They landed 10 salmon to 26 pounds and lost few other fish. Jared said there was a good early morning bite off the Towers and the west edge of Duxbury reef.

The salmon bite remains solid along the Marin Coast. Second Captain Jerad Davis ran the Salty Lady on Monday 9-28 for 16 salmon to 33 pounds for 10 anglers trolling from the Duxbury Buoy to the Towers.  Richard Birnbaum of Corte Madera landed the big fish for one of the largest salmon of the year. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady will be out with a full load on Wednesday for salmon trolling, and there is limited room on Friday’s open load trip. He will also be running open load salmon trips next Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thomas was out on a whale watching trip on Tuesday, and he reported continued ‘awesome’ whale action with the marine mammals at first light in the fog in the morning on their way to the Farallons. Once at the Islands, they observed birds that have been drawn north by the warm water conditions such as brown or blue boobies, leading Thomas to state, “This is very unusual.” On the return to the coastline near the Pilot Station, there were pods of humpbacked whales lunge feeding with four coming out of the water at one time after corralling the bait. I have seen this before in Icy Straits out of Hoonah, Alaska, and it is an amazing sight. They also observed Bonita ranging from 20 inches to 24" feet at the Farallons.
The Sundance out of Emeryville was along the Marin coast with a group of five fishermen for 4 salmon to 20 pounds along with 5 ling cod to 18 pounds.
The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing put in 20 limits of rockfish and 40 ling cod to 20 pounds on Tuesday 9-29. They went to the Farallons on Monday with the New Salmon Queen for 507 rockfish, 139 ling cod to 16 pounds, 600 sand dabs, and a 16-pound Bonita for 61 anglers.
Two Sausalito boats went out on Tuesday to troll from Muir Beach to Double Point for 42 salmon to 26 pounds for 38 anglers.

More Salmon Headed Our Way thanks to Salmon Stamp Fund, GGSA Legislative Efforts
Hatchery production will increase by another two million fish in 2016

San Francisco  -- Salmon fishermen should enjoy better fishing in a few years due to an extra two million salmon smolts that will be raised and released in 2016.  The extra two million hatchery fish will be bred at the Mokelumne and Feather River hatcheries.  The Salmon Stamp fund, created by a fee commercial salmon trollers and charter boat operators pay into, will pay 50 percent of the cost with the other 50 percent coming from the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to produce the fish. 
“All salmon fishermen and related businesses owe a big thanks to the Salmon Stamp committee for stepping up to pay for these extra fish which we’ll all benefit from in a few years,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.  “More salmon in the ocean will help our coastal communities in the near future, especially in light of the hit we’ve taken from the drought.”
“Commercial salmon fishermen and charter boat owners pay to make the fishery better and we’re happy to see the money going to produce more salmon,” said Salmon Stamp committee member and Half Moon Bay commercial salmon troller Jim Anderson.
The move to expand hatchery production comes after the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s policy advocate worked through State Senator Mike McGuire’s and Assemblyman Jim Wood’s offices to introduced legislation in the state legislature calling for the extra fish.  That legislation was later withdrawn after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife vowed it would find half of the money needed and work with the commercial Salmon Stamp fund to secure the rest.  The troller’s and charter boat representative agreed to provide $394,000 in 2016 from the Salmon Stamp fund to produce a total of four million “enhancement” fish.  These are “extra” hatchery salmon over and above what the hatchery is required to produce to mitigate for the loss of historic salmon habitat above dams.  The hatcheries regularly produced four million enhancement fish until 2007 when that number dropped to two million, where it’s been ever since.
“Our ability through the Salmon Stamp committee for pay for extra salmon shows what’s possible when we all contribute to keeping our fishery going.  Likewise, we need our fishermen to pay their assessments to their local marketing associations to keep our industry going,” said Monterey based troller and Salmon Stamp committee member Mike Ricketts.  “It’s the marketing associations that send a representative to help us steer where Salmon Stamp funds are spent.”  
The trollers and charter boat members of Salmon Stamp agreed to pay on the condition that all of the fish would be trucked and net pen acclimated in the bay to maximize survival.  The cost of producing these extra fish is expensive because 25 percent of them are fin clipped and tagged with coded wire tags. 
GGSA is exploring a long term alternative way to pay for the four million enhancement fish since Salmon Stamp funds are limited.  GGSA is talking to state officials and Salmon Stamp committee members to find a way to continue this funding.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( 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.

On Sunday 9-20 the Emeryville Sport Center had 6 boats out. On the salmon trolling trips three boats had a combined 42 salmon for 31 anglers to 23 pounds. On their rockfish trips three boats had a combined 66 limits of rockfish to go with a huge 159 lings to 16 pounds fishing at the Islands and along the Marin coast.
On Friday Jared on the Salty Lady reported 21 salmon to 20 pounds for 14 anglers  trolling at the Channel buoys. Jared said the fish are all in the 10 to 15 pound class with a few topping out every day over 20. Top action this week has been spread out from the Channel buoys to Duxbury to the Middle Grounds.


Special to The Bee

After yet another revision, the governor’s plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta still makes no economic sense. A closer look at the three types of economic benefits claimed for the project to export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities shows why it can’t possibly justify its estimated $15 billion cost. In each case, I give a value derived directly from the optimistic estimates of the state’s consultants and a more intuitive comparison.

Water supply: The latest numbers estimate the tunnels will increase water exports south of the Delta by an annual average of 257,000 acre-feet, with no increase in drought years when it is needed most. The cumulative value of that water supply over 50 years is $2 billion to $3 billion.
For comparison, San Diego’s new desalination plant will provide 56,000 acre-feet of drought-proof water for a capital cost of $1 billion. Desalination is the most costly water supply alternative, but it still provides more than three times the water supply per dollar invested than the Delta tunnels.

Water quality: Because the tunnels would divert higher-quality water from the Sacramento River, the salt and other contaminants in export water supply could decrease by 20 percent. It’s estimated that this could have a cumulative value to water exporters of as much as $2 billion over 50 years.
However, it is important to remember that the tunnels aren’t a water treatment or desalination plant that purifies water. Thus, the water exporter’s gain in water quality will be offset by degraded water quality elsewhere, a concern that is at the center of opposition in the five Delta counties and environmental concerns raised by the EPA and others.

Seismic risk: Listening to the governor, earthquake protection is the main economic argument. But the state’s experts estimated seismic-risk reduction to water exports was only worth a cumulative $400 million over 50 years. Why is this value so low? First, it is a very low probability event even in the most pessimistic models. Second, the outage to water exports isn’t as bad as you hear in TV commercials. Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin correctly described it as “weeks or months” in a recent media call, not years. In a worst-case earthquake scenario, the tunnels might prevent 2 million to 3 million acre-feet in lost water exports, a costly but manageable shortage. For comparison, the current drought has cut surface water supplies to farms and cities by more than 10 million acre-feet.
The earthquake argument is not only economically wrong, it is morally outrageous. The real damage from what some call California’s Katrina would be death and destruction in the Delta itself. The state’s model of this tragedy shows hundreds could die and that 80 percent of the economic damage was from the loss of property and infrastructure in the Delta.
It’s shocking that the state’s response to this are water tunnels that protect only 20 percent of the economic loss and zero percent of the life loss. Levee upgrades are much cheaper and reduce risks for all Californians.
In sum, the economic benefits of the tunnels to the water exporters total about $5 billion of its $15 billion cost, and the benefit-cost ratio is even worse when the negative impacts to the Delta and risks to the environment and upstream interests are considered.
Support among water exporters has been steadily eroding as the economic and financial shortcomings of the plan become better understood.
A few years ago, the state tried to shore up its economic argument by attaching a huge value to the hope of 50-year regulatory protection from the Endangered Species Act, and incorrectly attributing habitat restoration benefits to the tunnels. After heavy criticism, the latest revision to the tunnels plan eliminates the 50-year regulatory assurance and separates environmental restoration. The plan’s already flimsy economic rationale evaporated with this correction.
It is increasingly clear that there are less divisive alternatives that provide more economic and environmental value than the tunnels. No amount of tweaking can save what is fundamentally a bad idea. It’s time to move on.

Jeffrey Michael, an economist, is director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. Read his blog at
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Party Boat Contacts:
The Emeryville Sportfishing Center is currently booking salmon and potluck trips begin in late April. They have a great promotion that when you take six trips your "lucky" seventh trip is free. This is good on any of their boats. Reservations can be made at 510 654-6040.

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46026

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46026



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