female chinook salmon icon Definitions

Anadromous Fish - Title 34 defines anadromous fish as "...those stocks of salmon (including steelhead), striped bass, sturgeon, and American shad that ascend the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to reproduce after maturing in San Francisco Bay or the Pacific Ocean" (Section 3403[a]). This definition identifies five groups or species of fish: salmon, steelhead, striped bass, sturgeon, and American shad. The American Fisheries Society recognizes steelhead as the common name for the anadromous form of Oncorhynchus mykiss and striped bass and American shad as the common names for Morone saxatilis and Alosa sapidissima (AFS 1991). Clearly, Title 34 includes these species in the definition of anadromous fish. The names salmon and sturgeon both include multiple species of fish and the meaning of these terms in relation to Program development needs clarification. The term "stocks" in the definition of anadromous fish also needs clarification.

Salmon - Salmon is a common name for at least six species of fish. Five species of salmon have been observed in the Sacramento River: chinook (O. tshawytscha), coho (O. kisutch), sockeye (O. nerka), pink (O. gorbuscha), and chum (O. keta) salmon (Moyle 1976, Fry 1973). Chinook salmon are common in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system, the other four species are rare. Based on observations of adults during 1949 through 1958, Hallock and Fry (1967) concluded that sockeye, pink, and chum salmon entered the Sacramento River regularly enough to be regarded as very small runs, but that coho salmon were so scarce and irregular that they should be regarded as strays. Juvenile coho salmon were planted in Mill Creek in 1956, 1957, and 1958, but by 1963 coho salmon were almost as scarce as they had been before the introductions (Hallock and Fry 1967). During the baseline period, there is no evidence that coho, sockeye, pink, or chum salmon maintained self-sustaining spawning runs in the Central Valley (Fisher pers. comm.). Because the definition of anadromous fish specifies "...salmon... that ascend the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers...to reproduce..." and because chinook salmon is the only salmon known to reproduce in the system on a regular basis during the baseline period, the use of the word salmon in the definition will be interpreted to mean chinook salmon.

Sturgeon - Two species of sturgeon are found in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system: white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and green sturgeon (A. medirostris) (Moyle 1976). Because both species of sturgeon reproduce in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system, the word sturgeon will be interpreted to include white and green sturgeon.

In summary, the species of anadromous fish identified by Title 34 that reproduce in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system include chinook salmon, steelhead, striped bass, white sturgeon, green sturgeon, and American shad. The Program will be designed to double the natural production of the anadromous forms of these six species.

Other anadromous fish - Title 34 does not identify several species of anadromous fish that spawn in Central Valley rivers and streams. These include threespine stickleback, brown trout, and two species of lamprey and smelt (Fry 1973). The Program will not establish restoration goals specific to these species.

American Fisheries Society. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. Fifth edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 20, Bethesda, Maryland. 183 pp.

Fry, D. H., Jr. 1973. Anadromous fishes of California. California Department of Fish and Game. 111 pp.

Hallock, R. J., and D. H. Fry, Jr. 1967. Five species of salmon, Oncorhynchus, in the Sacramento River, California. California Fish and Game 53:5-22.

Moyle, P. B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA. 405 pp.

Source: Final Restoration Plan [  A-3 ]