CHICO, Calif. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released thousands of salmon fry into the Sacramento River on Saturday.
Multiple agencies participated in the release which is part of a three-year experiment to increase survival rates.
A total of 300,000 salmon were released into the river on Saturday. Half were dropped at their usual location at Coleman Fish Hatchery near Anderson in Shasta County, and the other half were released 75 miles downstream, at Scottys Landing on River Road near Chico.
Surgeons fit the fish with tiny radio transmitters so they can more easily study their survival chances and homing instincts.
"Salmon add a big amount of economic activity," said John McManus of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. He said people spend a lot of money to go fishing, in addition to spending lots of money to buy fish in the store.
"Salmon are native fish that have always been here," continued McManus. He said the agencies are working together to see if they can increase their numbers.
Many Coleman salmon are lost in this first leg of the journey, especially in years when the water is low, said officials. They said if the experiment at Scotty's Landing is successful, the agencies will consider releasing more salmon in the area in the future.